Football. Although Ireland can’t boast much as far as winning goes, the team has an interesting history and the sport remains extremely popular here. Irish fans love to celebrate, win, draw or lose and anywhere they go they bring the craic. This post celebrates that and if you’re looking to play during your stay here, we have a few suggestions. Enjoy!
Let’s starts with a history and some interesting facts;
1882 – 1924
Hard to believe but Ireland, North and South, was represented by one team under the irish Football Association (IFA) which had its HQ in Belfast
As the political border between Northern Ireland and what is now known as the Republic of Ireland was established and problems continued between Northern and southern Ireland, another association was established in 1921; Football Association of the Irish Free State (FAIFS) (bit of a mouthful…) and was based in Dublin. In 1924 this team made its international debut in the Summer Olympics
Fun fact: this was the first time Irishmen were took part in Olympic games ever!
This year marked the team’s FIFA World Cup debut with a match against Belgium. Irish player, Paddy Moore, scored all 4 goals making him the first ever player to score 4 goals in a World Cup Game… Ireland were slowly making a name for themselves (although they drew 4-4 in this game)
FAIFS changes their name to the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and the team referred to themselves as Éire or Ireland. Of course, there were clashes with Belfast based IFA with both associations feeling entitled to selecting players over the entire island
FIFA had to get involved when both the FAI and IFA entered a team into the World Cup qualifiers AND four players were down to play for both teams! In 1953 FIFA insisted the FAI name their team the Republic of Ireland and IFA name their team Northern Ireland. This is how it has remained until the present day
History was made when the Republic of Ireland team selected Shay Brennan, of Manchester United, to play although he was not Irish born. Now players must at least have Irish grandparents to be considered for selection
‘Fun’ Fact: Well this one isn’t very fun but between the late 1960s and early 1970s the Republic of Ireland team went almost exactly 5 years without winning a single competitive game..
Between then and the late 1980s the team had disappointing campaigns often not making the it through the qualifying stages of international competitions… History repeats itself it seems as we saw this year!
1989 saw Ireland’s longest winning streak during the qualifying stages of 1990 World Cup beating 5 teams in a row (Spain, Northern Ireland, Hungary and Malta (twice). Three draws saw the team get through knockout stages with the match against Romania captivating the entire country. Packie Bonner, goalie for Ireland at the time remains a hero in the minds of anyone who remembers Italia ‘90
Unfortunately Ireland were beaten by Italy 1-0 in the quarter final, however, Irish fans celebrated anyway. If you think the canal has been crazy in this weather, take a look at the footage from 1990
Since then we have had some other highlights, like our 2002 World Cup campaign.. But really, nothing compares to 1990!
Enough of reading and just want to play? Well every Friday we have a pitch rented on Digges street. Just collect a ball at reception and the pitch is yours from 2-4pm. Also, this link might be helpful to you – It gives you access to information about the various football meetups around Dublin
If football isn’t your thing, firstly, well done for getting this far, but also why not take a look at the other sporting activities we have lined up; from yoga, to hurling to hiking. And as always, we’re open to suggestions!
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