The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) was founded in 1921 during the partition of Ireland. They went to the Summer Olympics in 1924. From 1824 to 1936, they competed as Irish Free State. They started to use the name Irelnd in 1937. Meanwhile, the Irish Football Association (IFA) also used the name Ireland for their national team. From 1937 to 1952, two different team was playing as Ireland. In fact, some players were playing for both teams. In 1953, the FAI's national team was officially recognized as the Republic of Ireland while the national team by IFA became Northern Ireland.
In 1949, Ireland became the first national team outside of the United Kingdom to beat England at home. However, Ireland did not make much wave at the international scene until Manager Jack Charlton took over in 1986. They qualified for their first major tournament in 1988. At the Finals in West Germany, Ireland beat England 1-0, drew Soviet Union and narrowly lost to Holland. Two years later, they reached the quarterfinal of the 1990 World Cup Finals before losing to the host Italy. Four years later, they gained revenge by beating Italy and reached the second round. In 2002, despite captain Roy Keane leaving the team in Saipan, Ireland reached the second round.
If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament. I have also created an all-time Ireland/Northern Ireland combined team here.
GK: Shay Given
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: Packie Bonner
Packie Bonner played 80 times for Ireland. He was best remembered for winning the penalty shootout against Romania at Italia 1990. He spent 20 years playing for Celtics in Scotland.
|Packie Bonner vs Romania|
Capped by Ireland between 1956 and 1973. He was notably played Preston North End. Both of his sons are professional goalkeepers.
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.
RB: Steve Finnan
Steve Finnan played 52 internationals for the Republic from his debut in 2000, scoring twice. He played for them at the 2002 World Cup. He had played all four levels of the English levels. He is best remembered for his 5 seasons with Liverpool.
CB/DM: Paul McGrath
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.
He spent over a decade playing for Manchester United, winning two FA Cups. He moved to Blackburn Rovers and helped to secure a promotion to the top division. He was capped 71 times between 1980 and 1994.
CB: Mark Lawrenson
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.
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: Richard Dunne
He was capped 80 times between 2000 and 2013. He played at Euro 2012. For his club career, he spent ten years with Manchester City. He moved to Aston Villa in 2009 and then, Queens Park Rangers in 2013.
CB: Charlie Hurley
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/CB: Steve Staunton
He was capped 102 times for Ireland. He captained Ireland at the WC Finals in 2002 after the depature of Roy Keane. For his club career, he played mainly for Aston Villa and Liverpool.
LB: Denis Irwin
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.
CM/DM: Roy Keane
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.
He went to both WC Finals in 1990 and 1994. He was the captain in 1994. He played for many clubs in England, but most notably with Norwich, Chelsea and Aston Villa.
CM/AM: Johnny Giles
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.
Played for Liverpool during the 1980's. He won one European Cup and 6 league titles. He was ranked the 30th greatest player for Liverpool. He was capped 53 times, and played at Euro 1988 and the WC Finals in 1990 and 1994.
LW/AM: Liam Brady
Liam Brady 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.
LW: Damien Duff
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/CM: Ray Houghton
Born in Scotland, he was capped 73 times for the Republic. He was best remembered for scoring the winning goal against England at Euro 1988 and against Italy at the WC Finals in 1994. He was also remembered for his career at Liverpool.
RW/FW: Patsy Gallacher
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: Niall Quinn
He was capped 92 times for the Republic. He was at one point Ireland's All-time leading scorer. He went to the Euro 1988 and two WC Finals: 1990 and 2002. For his club career, he played for Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland.
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
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.
ST: Robbie Keane
He is the all-time leading scorer and cap record holder for Ireland and he is currently the highest international scorer among active player. He had played in Italy and England, and now is playing in the USA.
Micky McCarthy, Kevin Sheedy and Tony Cascarino.
Due to the complexity of Irish question, dual international players who played for both the Republic and Northern Ireland between 1908 nd 1950 are eligible to be on this team if they were capped by FAI.