Barry Kitchener, Harry Cripps, Teddy Sheringham, Terry Hurlock, Tim Cahill, Neil Harris, Paul Robinson. There have been many players who, whenever Millwall fans reminisce, will eloquently wax lyrical about how these are some of the greatest/hardest/most terrifying players they have ever seen at the Old and New Den. Players who we remember growing up watching wishing we could be, who we would cheer and chant their names from the stands and terraces. But what about the others? The players who when we find old programmes in the garage, we would flip it over and have completely forgotten that these players played a part in successful teams of the past. The ‘Steady Eddies’ who may not have scored hat-tricks or hit crunching tackles every week, but those who were reliable and wouldn’t let you down.
For this edition of Unsung Heroes, we look back at a defender whose tough tackling and determined ways made him popular with the Millwall fanbase, Shane Lowry.
After appearing on short-term loan deals for Plymouth, Leeds United and Sheffield United, Lowry originally signed on loan from Aston Villa along with his team-mate Nathan Baker on 23rd November 2011 and went straight into the side that drew 0-0 with Crystal Palace three days later. The Australian was an instant hit with the Millwall fans and also the Lions' management and due to his determined and dogged performances, he was rewarded with an extension to his loan until the end of January. The defender may've been popular with those in South London, but he was not always a favourite of the match officials and picked up cards throughout the season more than the prettiest girl in school on Valentine's Day. As his extended spell was coming to an end, the decision was made to offer the defender a permanent two-and-a-half year deal, one which Lowry signed to the delight of the Millwall supporters. The 2011-12 season was a tough one for Millwall and Kenny Jackett's side limped to 16th place and Lowry featured in 23 games for the Lions scoring one goal in the 1-0 away win against Coventry City.
The 2012-13 season saw an increase in game time for Lowry and the defender again managed to get a single goal in the goals scored column. Featuring in wins against the likes of Wolverhampton Wanderers, Bristol City and Blackburn Rovers, Lowry continued to be an important member of a Millwall defence that was deeply involved in a desperate relegation battle which would've seen Millwall slip into the third tier of English Football. Although the league season was disappointing, Millwall had a successful FA Cup campaign that saw the Lions feature against Premier League side, Wigan Athletic, a game in which Millwall would lose 2-0. The battle for survival went to the last day and the Zampa Road outfit managed to secure a 20th place finish with the Down-Under defender playing in 45 games in all competitions scoring one goal - a spectacular long range free-kick effort in the South London derby win against Charlton Athletic.
Millwall legend Kenny Jackett left The Den prior to the start of the 2013-14 season and with his departure was the start of the new managerial revolving door which was installed in Bermondsey. Steve Lomas was Jackett's replacement, but due to his links with West Ham United and the style of football he got Millwall to play, his tenure in charge was short and he was sacked following a string of poor defeats and a 4-0 Boxing Day away defeat at Watford. After a short caretaker spell from Neil Harris and Scott Fitzgerald, Ian Holloway was appointed and this unfortunately saw a reduction in the minutes Lowry played in. A good run of form saw the Lions climb to 19th place, but the Australian only played in 23 games in all competition for Millwall.
In all the defender played in 91 games for Millwall and scored two goals. Shane Lowry was released when his contract expired and went on to join Leyton Orient in July 2014. He would stay at Brisbane Road for only one year before joining Birmingham City and now plays for Australian side Perth Glory. Lowry's time at Millwall may have been short, but he was a popular member of the side who should have arguably been given more game time by one of Millwall's more controversial managerial appointments.