In Carlisle United's history of surreal happenings, this one was right up there.

It is now exactly 20 years since the Blues played a friendly game against Irish side Shelbourne - with an unlikely new star name in their side.

That was none other than former Wimbledon, Leeds and Chelsea hardman and future movie star Vinnie Jones.

The game had been arranged as part of striker Richie Foran's transfer from Shelbourne to Carlisle.

Jones was described as a friend of United's colourful boss Roddy Collins - who initially told United's website he was keen to sign the 36-year-old.

"Vinnie has agreed to play next week," Collins said. "We will assess his fitness and see how he feels about signing for us for the rest of the season."

News and Star: Vinnie Jones prepares to take the field for the second halfVinnie Jones prepares to take the field for the second half

In the event, it proved a one-game cameo for the former Wales international who, three years earlier, had retired from football and gone on to star in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

The News & Star followed the Blues to Dublin, with reporter Anthony Ferguson covering Jones' United outing on November 13, 2001.

There had been some doubt that Jones would turn up for the game, but at 7.22pm the stadium announcer went through the teams and, coming to United's number 16, read out the footballer-turned-film star's name.

News and Star: Jones jogs onto the pitch at ShelbourneJones jogs onto the pitch at Shelbourne

He was named among the substitutes to begin with - and then made his appearance on the touchline for the start of the second half.

Jones came on at the interval for Cumbrian midfielder Tony Hopper - and pretended to strangle the linesman as he took the field.

News & Star man Ferguson reported that Jones tried a shot from the centre circle immediately after the second half began.

News and Star: The footballer turned film star makes a typically robust challengeThe footballer turned film star makes a typically robust challenge

He later left Shels' Steve Geoghegan needing treatment after a 50-50 challenge, and was heard issuing firm "instructions" to his temporary team-mates throughout.

Jones spent much of the game on the right wing and sent over a couple of good crosses, while he had a shot blocked in the final moments, against a home side who included future Premier League and Ireland star Wes Hoolahan.

News and Star: Jones tries to get the better of Shelbourne's Wes HoolahanJones tries to get the better of Shelbourne's Wes Hoolahan

Another guest appearance for Carlisle was made by Middlesbrough's Ireland international defender Curtis Fleming, while United's line-up also included the likes of Foran, Peter Murphy, Stuart Whitehead, Peter Keen and Brendan McGill.

The game ended 4-2 to the hosts, whose goals were scored by Crosley, Hoolahan, Byrne and Whelan, with Sean Friars and Hopper netting for United.

Collins, who claimed to have had a large wager on the outcome of the game, conceded that the regular sight of Jones in a United shirt was unlikely.

"Vinnie is a movie star now and can earn more money than I could ever hope to offer him," the Carlisle boss said.

"But it was great to have him over for the game."

News and Star: Vinnie Jones battles for the ball in a United shirtVinnie Jones battles for the ball in a United shirt

The match was watched by controversial United owner Michael Knighton and his son Mark, while chants of "We want Knighton out" from United fans were heard during the game.

Foran later said there was "no way I was going to answer him back" when Jones had barked instructions during the game.

The man himself, meanwhile, confirmed it was not going to herald a return to the footballing stage.

News and Star: Jones has a friendly exchange of views with the refereeJones has a friendly exchange of views with the referee

"If I even thought about it, the wife would hit me over the head with a rolling pin," Jones told reporters.

He reminded reporters that his new film, Mean Machine, was due out on Boxing Day, before being escorted away from Tolka Park by his agent - thus ending one of the most bizarre and brief Carlisle United careers there has ever been.