Sunday, December 14, 2014

Republic of Ireland/Northern Ireland Combined team

N.Ireland vs Ireland

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.  I have also create all-time teams for both Ireland and Northern Ireland.  My all-time team for the United kingdom is here

From 1882 to 1950, the name Ireland national team was used by the Irish Football Association (IFA).  It consisted of players from the entire Ireland.  After the partition of Ireland in the 1920s, another team was organized by Football Association of Ireland (FAI). They also competed with the name Ireland from 1937 and 1952.  So two different team was playing as Ireland in the period and some players were playing for both teams.  In 1953, the FAI was officially recognized as Ireland while the national team by IFA became Northern Ireland.  Due to the complexity of Irish question, players who played for any of the Ireland national team are eligible to be on this team.

This is my selection of  the Republic of Ireland/Northern Ireland Combined team.   If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  

GK: Pat Jennings (N.Ireland)
Considered among the greatest goalkeeper of all-time.  The prime of his career was spent with both Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal.  In 1973 the Football Writers' Association named him as its footballer of the year. Three years later he won PFA's version of the award – he was the first goalkeeper to receive this accolade, and to this date remains only one of two, along with Peter Shilton. He earned 119 caps for Northern Ireland and went to two WC Finals. 

Pat Jennings
GK: Shay Given (Ireland)
Given started his career with Celtic, but made his professional debut with Blackburn Rovers.  He was remembered for playing with Newcastle United from 1997 to 2009.  He was voted into PFA Team of the Year twice, 2001-2002 and 2005-2006.  He earned 126 caps for Ireland. He played in the 2002 WC Finals and Euro 2010.

GK: Harry Gregg (N.Ireland)
Matt Busby's goalkeeper from 9 seasons.  He survived the Munich Air Disaster.  He was voted best goalkeeper of the tournament at the 1958 World Cup, where Northern Ireland reached the quarter-finals.

RB: Billy McCracken (N.Ireland) 
He was one of the most successful defender of his time.  McCracken played for the English club Newcastle United from 1904 to 1924, helping them win three League titles and the FA Cup. He was known for setting the offside trap for the attackers.  The offside rule was changed because of him. 

RB: John Carey (Ireland/N.Ireland) 
He was also a dual internationalist, playing for and captaining both Ireland teams – the FAI XI and the IFA XI.  In 1949, he was voted the FWA Footballer of the Year and in the same year captained the FAI XI that defeated England, becoming the first non-UK team to beat England at home.   As a player Carey spent most of his career at Manchester United, where he was team captain from 1946 until he retired as a player in 1953. 

CB/DM: Paul McGrath (Ireland) 
One of Ireland's greatest players.  He appeared at the 1990 and 1994 World Cup Finals, as well as Euro 1988.  He had a run-in with Sir Alex at Manchester United and moved to Aston Villa where he won the PFA Player of the Year in 1993. 

Paul McGarth

LB/CB: Mark Lawrenson (Ireland)
A key defender for Liverpool in the 1980's.  He won one European Cup and 5 league titles. He played for Ireland between 1977 and 1987.  He helped Ireland to qualify for its first ever major tournament in 1988, but an injury prevented him from going to Euro 1988.An injury prevented him from going to the Euro 1988 in Germany.

CB: David O’Leary (Ireland)
O'Leary made a record of 722 appearance for Arsenal.  For Arsenal, he won the English League, FA Cup and the League Cup, two of each.  With 68 caps, he represented Ireland at Italian 1990, scoring the winning penalty against Romania.

CB: Charlie Hurley (Ireland) 
Hurley is best known for his long career at Sunderland.  He played for them between 1957 and 1969. He was named the Black Cats' "Player of the Century" by their fans on the occasion of the club's centenary in 1979, and then, Millwall's greatest players in 2007.   

LB/RB: Denis Irwin (Ireland) 
Alex Ferguson considered him his greatest ever signing.  He played over 200 games for Manchester United, winning the Champions' League in 1999 and 7 Premiership titles. Irwin was capped by the Republic of Ireland national side 56 times, scoring four goals and featuring in the side that reached the second round (last 16) at the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

LB: Alf McMichael (N.Ireland)
Belfast-born McMichael began his career at Linfield, before signing for Newcastle United in 1949. He remained at Newcastle until 1962, appearing 433 times. He was part of the team that won the 1952 FA Cup Final. At one point he was considered the best left-back in Britain and was a popular player amongst Newcastle United supporters. He represented Northern Ireland 40 times.

CM/DM: Roy Keane (Ireland)
Captain of Manchester United from 1997 to 2005, where he won one Champions' League, 7 Preimer League titles and 4 FA Cups.  He was the PWA Player of the Year in 2000.  He palyed for Ireland at USA 1994, but was sent home 4 years later before the start of the WC in 2002.
Roy Keane

CM/M: Johnny Giles (Ireland)
An all-time great for Leeds United in the 1970's where he won two English league titles.  He was voted as Ireland's greatest player at  at the UEFA Jubilee Awards in 2004.

CM/AM:  Danny Blanchflower (N.Ireland)
He won the Double in 1961 with Tottenham Hotspurs.  He won the FA Cup the following year, and then, a Cup Winners' Cup in 1963.  He was PWA Player of the Year in 1958 and 1961. He went to the World Cup in 1958. 

LM/CM: Ronnie Whelan (Ireland)
Played for the mighty Liverpool during the 1980's.  He won one European Cup and 6 league titles.  Whelan played for the Republic of Ireland national football team at one UEFA European Football Championship (1988) and two World Cups (1990 and 1994), turning out a total of 53 times for the national side between 1981 and 1995.
LW/RW: George Best (N.Ireland)
Considered to be one of the greatest players ever played the game.  He was one of the "United's Trinity".  He led Manchester United to their first (and also first ever for an English club) European Cup in 1968.  He won the PWA PLayer of the Year award and the Ballon d'Or that year.
George Best
RW: Billy Bingham (N.Ireland) 
He was at one point the cap record holder for Norther Ireland. He helped them to qualoify for Sweden 1958, where North Ireland reached the quarter-final.  He won a league title with Everton in 1963.

LW/AM: Liam Brady (Ireland)
He played over 200 times for Arsenal in the 1980's.  He was the PWA Player of the Year in 1979.  He was one of the few successful Irish players playing outside the UK.  In 1980, he moved to Juventus, where he won two Series A titles in two seasons.  He went on to play for Inter Milan and Ascoli.
Liam Brady

LW: Damien Duff (Ireland) 
Duff won two Premiership titles with Chelsea.  After four seasons at Stamford Bridge, he left for Newcastle United where he won the 2006 UEFA Intertoto Cup, and then moved on to Fulham, with whom he played in the 2010 UEFA Europa League Final. He was remembered for his performance at WC 2002 and captained Ireland at Euro 2012.

RW/FW: Patsy Gallacher (N.Ireland/Ireland)
He was nicknamed "Mighty Atom".   He was considered one of the greatest Celtics players ever.  The 1925 Scottish FA Cup Final was called "the Patsy Gallacher" final after he scored a somersault goal.  He played 12 times for IFA (now called Northern Ireland) and one time for FAI (Ireland).

ST: Robbie Keane (Ireland) 
Keane is the all-time leading scorer and cap record holder for Ireland.  He went to the WC Finals in 2002, and participated at Eyuro 2012 and 2016.  He had played in Italy, Scotland, England, and the USA. Most of his stints were short, including a dream move to Inter Milan.  His most famous stints was with Tottenham Hotspurs, where he won the League Cup in 2008 and LA Galaxy.
Robbie Keane

ST: Frank Stapleton (Ireland) 
He was Ireland's all-time leading scorer for a decade.  He captained Ireland at Euro 1988, Ireland's first major tournament. He is best remembered for his time at Arsenal, Manchester United.  he won a single FA Cup for Arsenal and another one for Manchester United.

ST:  John Aldridge (Ireland)
He is still the 6th highest goal scorer in the history of English football.  He was best remembered with his career at Liverpool from 1987 and 1989. He joined the club as a replacement for Ian Rush.  He linked up with Peter Beardsley and John Barnes to form one of the most exciting attacking lines in the club's history.
John Aldridge

Squad Explanation
-- Due to the complexity of Irish question, players who played for any of the Ireland national team are eligible to be on this team.
-- I think Shay Given is now the greatest keeper for the Republic over Packie Bonner.
-- Ireland had a large number of great center-backs.  I could find space for Robert Milne (N.Ireland), Terry Neil(N.Ireland), Alan McDonald (N.Ireland), Steve Staunton and Kevin Moran(Ireland). I also wanted to select Steve Finnan as a fullback.
-- Best and Bingham took over two wing spots.  I have no space for Ray Houghton (Ireland) 
-- I dropped Niall Quinn and picked Stapleton and Aldridge because they are two of my personal favorites. I grew up in the 1980's.  Norman Whiteside was also considered too.

Jennings, Best and Bingham

Starting lineup
Formation 4-4-2
I moved Denis Irwin to the rightback, which was actually his natural position. Liam Brady had a great left foot.  He occupied the left midfield, but he would cut inside and playmake.  Best could play on either side.


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