Samuel Baxter "Sammy" McIlroy born 2nd August 1954 in Belfast, Northern Ireland is a Northern Irish former international footballer whose clubs included Manchester United. After playing, he managed several English football teams and the Northern Ireland national team.
From East Belfast, McIlroy played from 1971 to 1982 at Manchester United. He was the last youth player signed by Matt Busby, therefore making him the last of the Busby Babes. He scored in his first-team debut match in 1971 at the age of 17 in a 3-3 draw in the Manchester derby against Manchester City at Maine Road on the 6th of November, but was not able to win a regular first-team place until the 1974-75 season. In the late 1970s McIlroy moved from 'Reds' striker to midfielder.
In 1982, he was sold to Stoke City, where he played the next four seasons. McIlroy went on to play at Orgryte IS in Sweden in 1986, Manchester City in 1986-87, Bury from 1987 to 1990 and Preston North End in 1989/90.
As a player for the Northern Ireland national team McIlroy won 88 caps and scored 5 goals. He played in all of the country's matches during both the 1982 World Cup, where Northern Ireland defeated the host nation Spain and advanced to the second round, and the 1986 World Cup in which he captained the team.
McIlroy began his managerial career as player-coach under John McGrath at Preston North End in 1991. He then went on to manage non-league team Macclesfield Town for four seasons, culminating in their promotion to The Football League in 1997. He then managed Northern Ireland for nearly three years, but the team won only five times in 29 matches, with all of the wins occurring in McIlroy's first year. The side failed to score even a single goal in 13 qualifying matches for Euro 2004. Despite this, he remains one of the most popular managers in the country's history. Upon completion of the qualifying matches, McIlroy resigned to re-enter club management with Stockport County, whom he managed until November 2004.
In November 2005, he took over as caretaker manager of Conference side Morecambe, guiding them to victory in the 2007 play off final and promotion to the football league. In May 2006 this move to Morecambe was made permanent, replacing his friend, Jim Harvey, who was sacked the week before.