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Noel Purcell

Full name: Noel Mary Joseph Purcell
Gender: Male
Born: November 15, 1891 in Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Died: January 31, 1962 in Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland
Affiliations: D.S.C., Dublin (IRL)
Country: GBR Great Britain, IRL Ireland
Sport: Water Polo

Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)


Noel Purcell attended Belvedere College and Trinity College Dublin and as a swimmer won four Irish titles between 1911 and 1920 at distances from 220 to 880 yards. In 1912 he made his Irish water polo début and played for his country for 18 years. He was a late selection for the Great Britain squad for the 1920 Olympics but returned with a gold medal. Four years later, following the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922, Purcell became the first person to officially represent the two countries at the Olympics when he captained the Irish team in Paris. He was also selected for a third Games in 1928 but declined to play, because of pressure of business with his firm of Dublin solicitors. He also wanted to give younger players a chance,

Purcell was an Irish international roller skater, and was also an Irish rugby international and made his debut against England at Twickenham in February 1921. He played in all four matches as a No. 9 in that year's Five Nations Championship. He remains the only Irish international rugby player to win an Olympic gold medal. He later became a rugby referee, and was in charge of the Scotland v England Calcutta Cup game at Edinburgh in 1927. He was also a member of the Irish International selection committee from 1939-41.


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1920 Summer 28 Antwerpen Water Polo Men's Water Polo Great Britain GBR 1 Gold
1924 Summer 32 Paris Water Polo Men's Water Polo Ireland IRL 8T

Men's Water Polo

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank Date Result G
1920 Summer 28 Antwerpen Water Polo Great Britain GBR Final Round Match 1/2 1 1920-08-27 GBR 3, BEL 2 0
1920 Summer 28 Antwerpen Water Polo Great Britain GBR Semi-Finals Match #1 1 1920-08-26 GBR 7, USA 2 0
1920 Summer 28 Antwerpen Water Polo Great Britain GBR Quarter-Finals Match #2 1 1920-08-24 GBR 9, ESP 0
1924 Summer 32 Paris Water Polo Ireland IRL Quarter-Finals Match #2 2 1924-07-15 TCH 4, IRL 2
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