Philip Mulryne had been ordained a deacon in October last year.

Belfast-born Fr Mulryne won 27 caps for Northern Ireland in a career that included spells with Norwich City and Leyton Orient.

He made his debut for Manchester United in 1997 after progressing through the youth team.

Unable to forge a lengthy career with the Premier League club, he moved to Norwich City in 1999, but his time at Carrow Road was plagued by injuries.

He officially retired from football in 2009 and began his journey to ordination, entering the Diocesan Seminary of Saint Malachy’s Belfast.

He spent two years studying philosophy at Queens University Belfast and at the Maryvale Institute before going to the Pontifical Irish College, Rome, to study theology for one year at the Gregorian University.

He entered the Dominican Novitiate House in Cork in 2012.