Republic of Ireland national football team

Republic of Ireland national football team

Infobox National football team
Badge = FAIreland logo.png FIFA Trigramme = IRL
Nickname = The Boys in Green
Association = Football Association of Ireland
Confederation = UEFA (Europe)
Coach = flagicon|Italy Giovanni Trapattoni
Asst Manager= flagicon|Italy Marco Tardelli
Asst Coach= flagicon|Ireland Liam Brady| Captain = Robbie Keane
Most caps = Steve Staunton (102)
Top scorer = Robbie Keane (34)
Home Stadium = Croke Park
Lansdowne Road

FIFA Rank = 38
1st ranking date = August 1993
FIFA max = 6
FIFA max date = August 1993
FIFA min = 57
FIFA min date = November 1998
Elo Rank = 27
Elo max = 8
Elo max date = April 2002, August 2002
Elo min = 67
Elo min date = May 1972 | pattern_la1=_whiteborder|pattern_b1=_eire2008|pattern_ra1=_whiteborder|pattern_sh1=

First game = Flagicon|Ireland Irish Free State 1 - 0 fb-rt|BUL|1878 (Stade Olympique, Colombes, France; 28 May 1924)
Largest win = Flagicon|Ireland Republic of Ireland 8 - 0 Malta Flagicon|Malta (Dalymount Park, Dublin, Ireland; 16 November 1983)
Largest loss = Flagicon|Brazil Brazil 7 - 0 Republic of Ireland Flagicon|Ireland (Uberlândia, Brazil; 27 May 1982)
World cup apps = 3
World cup first = 1990
World cup best = Quarter finals, 1990
Regional name = European Championship
Regional cup apps = 1
Regional cup first = 1988
Regional cup best = 5th, 1988
The Republic of Ireland national football team represents Ireland in international football. It is run by the Football Association of Ireland and currently plays home fixtures at Croke Park in Dublin.

The team made its debut at the 1924 Olympics reaching the quarter finals. Between 1924 and 1936 the team competed as the Irish Free State and from then until 1953 it was referred to by the FAI as Ireland. The current name was adopted after a FIFA ruling to disambiguate it from the Ireland team run by the IFA, which is now known as Northern Ireland.

Under the guidance of Jack Charlton and his successor Mick McCarthy the team enjoyed its most successful era, qualifying for Euro 88, reaching the quarterfinals of the 1990 World Cup and making the last sixteen at both the 1994 and 2002 World Cups.

The side was the first team from outside the UK to defeat England on home soil, at a fixture played at Goodison Park, Liverpool in 1949. The team also reached the quarterfinals of the 1964 European Nations' Cup.


Irish Free State

Between 1882 and 1924 Ireland was represented by a single national football team organised by the Belfast - based Irish Football Association. Then in 1920 Ireland was partitioned into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. In 1922, Southern Ireland became the Irish Free State, which in turn became the Republic of Ireland. Amid these political upheavals the Football Association of Ireland emerged in Dublin in 1921 and began organising its own league and national football team.

In 1923 the FAI was recognised by FIFA as the governing body of the Irish Free State [cite book | title=Football Asssociation of Ireland: 75 years | first=Peter | last=Byrne | date=1996 | location=Dublin | publisher=Sportsworld | id = ISBN 1-900110-06-7 | pages=22] and at the 1924 Olympics, the Irish Free State made their international debut. On May 28 at the Stade Olympique, they beat Bulgaria 1-0, with Paddy Duncan scoring the team's first ever goal. As a result of this they qualified for the quarter-finals. [ [ 1924 Olympic Games at Rsssf] ] [ [ History of Irish Football] ] On June 14 1924, the Irish Free State made their home debut against the United States, who had embarked on a brief European tour after competing in the same Olympics. Ed Brookes scored a hat-trick in a 3-1 home win at Dalymount Park. [ [ United States results at Rsssf] ]

The Irish Free State did not play their next game until March 21 1926. This was an away game against Italy which they lost 3-0. In subsequent years the status of the Olympic Games football competition was downgraded and as a result this game is widely regarded as the Irish Free State's first official game. On February 25 1934 the Irish Free State made their World Cup debut, drawing 4-4 with Belgium at Dalymount Park in a qualifier. Paddy Moore scored all four of the Free State’s goals and became the first player ever to score four goals in a World Cup game.


Between 1924 and 1936 the FAI had selected players mainly from the Free State. However after 1936 the FAI began to refer to their team as "Ireland" and began to select players born in Northern Ireland. During this era there were, in effect, two "Ireland" teams, chosen by two rival Associations. Both Associations, the Northern Ireland - based IFA and the Irish Free State - based FAI claimed jurisdiction over the whole of Ireland and selected players from the whole island. During this era at least thirty-eight dual internationals were selected to represent both teams [ [ List of Dual Internationalists] ] .FIFA eventually intervened when both teams entered the 1950 FIFA World Cup, the first time they had entered the same competition. Four players - Tom Aherne, Reg Ryan, Davy Walsh and Con Martin - actually played for the two different teams in the same FIFA World Cup tournament. [Ryan, op. cit. pg 59.] .FIFA subsequently restricted players' eligibility based on the political border and in 1953 ruled neither team could be referred to as "Ireland" for competitions which both teams were eligible to enter i.e. initially the World Cup and subsequently the European Nations Cup (now the European Championships), decreeing that the FAI team be officially designated as the "Republic of Ireland" while the IFA team was to become Northern Ireland [Byrne, op. cit., pg 68] . (For British Championship matches played against England, Scotland and Wales, the IFA was still entitled to call its team "Ireland", as they had done since staging the worlds first ever competitive international, against Scotland in Belfast in 1884, a practice which they continued up until the early 1970s, when the IFA reverted to using the name "Northern Ireland" for all its games.)The FAI continued to refer to their team as "Ireland" until a game against Luxembourg on March 7 1954.

Competitive history

For many years, the Republic of Ireland had seen qualification for major tournaments elude them.

A 2–0 win over England at Goodison Park on 21 September 1949, was the first time England suffered a home defeat by a team outside the Home Countries of Scotland, Wales and the Ireland team run by the Belfast based Irish FA.

The 1958 World Cup qualifiers saw the Republic of Ireland drawn with England. In their home game against England, Alf Ringstead put the hosts 1-0 up before John Atyeo equalised in the last minute to salvage a 1-1 draw for England. Under the rules of the day, a win for the Republic of Ireland would have meant a play-off with England for a place in the World Cup.

After reaching the quarter-finals of the 1964 European Nations' Cup, the Republic of Ireland were drawn to face Spain and Syria in the 1966 World Cup qualifiers. Despite Syria's withdrawal, this was still considered a qualifying group with the Irish winning 1-0 at home and losing 4-1 away. This meant a play-off in Paris, which Spain won 1-0 to take their place in the 1966 World Cup. The play-off was originally scheduled to take place at Wembley Stadium in London, home to a large Irish diaspora, but the FAI agreed with the Spanish FA to have the match moved to Paris, where a large Spanish diaspora lived. [cite web |url= |title=FAI-Total Official Looniness Abroad |accessdate=2007-12-21 |author=Michael Nugent |date=2007-09-20 |work= |publisher=]

A run of poor results in the late 1960s and early 1970s followed until Johnny Giles became player-manager in the 1970s. This was followed by the debut of a young Liam Brady and results improved markedly. The side missed out on the 1978 World Cup by only 2 points, having defeated France at home.

Eoin Hand took over as the 1982 World Cup qualifiers got under way, and once more the Republic of Ireland narrowly missed out on qualification, this time on goal difference behind France who they had defeated at home once more. However, disappointing qualifying campaigns for both the 1984 European Championship and 1986 World Cup followed, and cost Hand his job.

In the late 1980s the Republic of Ireland took on Jack Charlton, a top rated English manager and World Cup winner as a player. He had recently built Middlesbrough into a side which provided many players to the Liverpool team of the time. He influenced changes in the Republic of Ireland team which went on to produce a comparatively successful spell of its history, qualifying for two World Cups and a European Championship. [ [] ]

The Republic of Ireland's longest competitive winning streak was achieved in 1989 during the 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign. Five games against Spain, Northern Ireland, Hungary and Malta twice, were all wins for the Irish. Subsequently the side made it to Italia '90, and reached the quarter finals. During the tournament the team had an audience with Pope John Paul II, and were the only team to do so.Fact|date=December 2007

Despite missing out on the 1992 European Championships, the Republic of Ireland qualified for USA '94, beating an opponent from the last World Cup, Italy, in their opening game. The side made it to the second round, eventually going down 2-0 to Netherlands. After the Republic of Ireland narrowly missed out on Euro '96, Jack Charlton was replaced by Mick McCarthy but still missed out on the next two major tournaments. He did manage to lead the side to Japan and Korea in 2002, once again going out in the second round, this time to Spain on penalties.

After a poor start to qualifying for Euro 2004, McCarthy was replaced by Brian Kerr but he also struggled to guide the side to the tournament or the following World Cup in Germany. Kerr was then replaced by Steve Staunton in early 2006. Under Staunton, results varied widely but the team still failed to qualify for Euro 2008 and Staunton was sacked in late 2007. Giovanni Trapattoni was then appointed following a spell with assistant coach Don Givens in charge. Trapattoni has been in charge for three friendly games and is unbeaten so far, with the most recent 1-1 draw coming against Norway in Scandinavia.


Lansdowne Road

Since the 1980s, most home matches have been played at Lansdowne Road, Dublin, the national rugby stadium owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU). The ground has been closed for redevelopment since 2007 with an anticipated reopening in 2009. The first football international played there was a friendly against Italy in 1971; a 5-0 victory over San Marino in a Euro 2008 qualifying match on 15 November 2006 was the last game there before the reconstruction. The all-seater capacity of Lansdowne Road prior to the renovation was 36,000, although higher attendances, using the standing only areas, were permitted for friendly matches. The all seater new stadium will increase capacity for competitive games to 50,000.

Croke Park

With the announcement of the rebuilding of Lansdowne Road, a new venue was required to stage the Republic of Ireland's home internationals. The only stadium in Ireland deemed suitable to stage international football was the 82,500 capacity Croke Park, home of the Gaelic Athletic Association. To accommodate this, the GAA temporarily relaxed its rule governing the playing of foreign games on its property. Initially, four Euro 2008 qualifiers were played at Croke Park in 2007 resulting in two wins and two draws. The GAA has agreed to allow the FAI use until the end of 2008, although any fixtures for this period have yet to be arranged. The Hill 16 end of Croke Park is a terrace, which means like Lansdowne Road before it, the capacity of the stadium is reduced to around 73,500Fact|date=October 2007 for competitive matches as temporary seating must be used.

Other venues

Prior to the 1980s, the Republic of Ireland played most home games at Dalymount Park, home of Bohemian FC, but progressively more games were played at Lansdowne following a safety review which reduced Dalymount's capacity. The last international match played there was against Morocco in 1990. The Republic of Ireland has also played home matches in Tolka Park (twice) and the Royal Dublin Society in Dublin as well at the Mardyke and Flower Lodge grounds in Cork.


Traditionally, the team plays in a home strip of green shirt, white shorts and green socks. The second strip is usually the reverse of these colours, although there have been exceptions, such as an orange shirt in the 1990s.

Currently, the kit is supplied by Umbro, and has been since 1995. Previously Adidas made the team's kit. Replica shirts carry the logo of Irish telecommunications company Eircom across the chest as per terms of a sponsorship agreement, but shirts worn by the players do not.

Squad numbers are either white with an orange trim, as is the case with the home shirts, or green with an orange trim. At the bottom of the numbering there is a logo of the FAI.

There is also a limited edition navy shirt available. The team have only ever used it once and that was a 2-2 draw with Wales on 17 November 2007.

Results and fixtures

Schedule and recent results

Matches from the past six months as well as any future scheduled matches.

:"*Draws include knockout matches decided by penalty shootout."

Notable former players


Most-capped players

As of|2008|September|10, 31 Republic of Ireland players have been capped on more than 50 occasions.

Record goal scorers

ee also

*Republic of Ireland B national football team
*Republic of Ireland national under-21 football team


External links

* [ FIFA 'Ireland Republic' page]

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