A graduate of the youth system at Home Farm, Chris joined Burnley as a teenager, making his first-team debut in 2005. He would go on to make 268 senior appearances in eight seasons with Burnley.
The versatile Dubliner proved to be a capable stand-in at left-back and centre-half as well as central midfield, helping the Clarets to promotion to the Premier League for the 2009/10 season. Former Shamrock Rovers boss Brian Laws replaced Owen Coyle mid-way through that Premier League campaign, most of which Chris missed because of injury as the club were relegated back to the Championship. Manager Eddie Howe named him captain towards the end of 2011.
However, a year-and-a-half later Chris joined FA Cup holders Wigan on a free transfer. After winning the League One title with Wigan in 2016 he moved to the States to join Atlanta United in their inaugural MLS season. Atlanta won the MLS Cup in 2018 with a 2-0 win over Portland Timbers. Chris came on as a late substitute in front of a record attendance of 73,019 spectators, with fellow Irishman Alan Kelly refereeing the final in Georgia.
There was also a loan spell with Coventry City and then Chris played alongside Wayne Rooney at DC United in Washington in 2019. The 33-year-old was most recently with Oldham Athletic, making 16 appearances in League Two.