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The Republic of Ireland national football team represents Irelandmarker in Association Football. It is run by the Football Association of Ireland and currently plays home fixtures at Croke Parkmarker in Dublinmarker.

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 1950 it was referred to by the FAI as Ireland. In 1953, FIFA decreed that the FAI team be officially called the Republic of Ireland while the IFA team was to be named 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 quarter-finals 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 Parkmarker, Liverpoolmarker, in 1949. The team also reached the quarter-finals 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 Belfastmarker - based Irish Football Association. Then in 1920 Ireland was partitioned into Northern Irelandmarker and The Irish Free State which in turn became the country called Irelandmarker. Amid these political upheavals the Football Association of Ireland emerged in Dublinmarker in 1921 and began organising its own league and national football team.

In 1923 the FAI was recognised by FIFAmarker as the governing body of the Irish Free State and at the 1924 Olympics, the Irish Free State made their international debut. On 28 May at the Stade Olympiquemarker, 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.

On 14 June 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 Parkmarker.

The Irish Free State did not play their next game until 21 March 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 25 February 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 Irelandmarker. 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.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.FIFA subsequently restricted players' eligibility based on the political border and in 1953 ruled that 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). FIFA decreed that the FAI team be officially called the Republic of Ireland while the IFA team was to be named Northern Ireland . The FAI ended their use of the name Ireland for their team against Luxembourg on 7 March 1954 .

Competitive history

A 2–0 win over England at Goodison Parkmarker 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.

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 manager for the 1982 World Cup qualifiers, 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. Disappointing qualifying campaigns for both the 1984 European Championship and 1986 World Cup followed, ending Eoin Hand's time in charge.

In the late 1980s the Republic of Ireland appointed 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.

Ireland's first appearance at a major finals tournament came in Euro '88, with qualification being secured through Gary Mackay's famous goal in Sofiamarker that meant Scotland beat Bulgaria 1-0 and left Ireland on top of the group. In the finals in West Germanymarker, Ireland beat England 1–0 in Stuttgartmarker with a header from Ray Houghton, drew 1–1, scorer Ronnie Whelan with Russia in Hannovermarker and lost to Holland 1–0 in Gelsenkirchenmarker, coming within 8 minutes of a draw that would have meant a semi-final place.

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. Three draws n the group stage against England, Egypt and Holland was enough to make the last 16. Virtually the whole country watched as they beat Romania on penalties with Packie Bonner making a vital save and David O'Leary scoring the decisive spot-kick. Ireland were then beaten 1–0 by Italy in the quarter final in the Olympic Stadium, Romemarker. During the tournament the team had an audience with Pope John Paul II, and were the only team to do so.

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 losing 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. McCarthy did manage to lead the side to Japan and Korea in 2002, despite the absence of inspirational captain Roy Keane due to their infamous public spat. The Irish once again going out in the round of 16, only losing on penalties to Spain after Robbie Keane's last minute equalizer forced the game into extra time.

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 lost the position in late 2007. Giovanni Trapattoni was then appointed following a spell with assistant coach Don Givens in charge. Trapattoni went six games unbeaten, winning three of the six games. Ireland lost out on a place in the 2010 FIFA World Cup after losing to France in the play offs. Ireland went down 0–1 in the first leg, and lost 2–1 on aggregate after William Gallas scored a controversial goal in extra time in the second leg after Thierry Henry had handballed before crossing the ball.


Lansdowne Road and Aviva Stadium

Since the 1980s, most home matches have been played at Lansdowne Roadmarker, Dublinmarker, the national rugby stadium owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU). The ground has been closed for redevelopment since 2007, with the replacement ground, Aviva Stadiummarker, now set to open in April 2010. Unlike Lansdowne Road, Aviva Stadium will be jointly owned by the IRFU and FAI. 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. Aviva Stadium's status as an all-seater will increase capacity for competitive games to 50,000.

Croke Park

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 Parkmarker, 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 initially agreed to allow the FAI use until the end of 2008, and later extended the permission until the completion of Aviva Stadium. 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 73,500 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 Parkmarker, 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 Parkmarker (twice) and the Royal Dublin Societymarker in Dublin as well at the Mardykemarker and Flower Lodgemarker grounds in Cork, and in 2009 played 2 friendly games in Thomond Parkmarker in Limerickmarker.


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 late 1990s.

Currently, the kit is supplied by Umbro, and has been since 1995. In March 2009, Umbro signed a deal with the FAI to keep them as kit suppliers to the team until the year 2020.

Previously O'Neills and Adidas made the team's kit. Shirts carry the logo of Irish telecommunications company Eircom across the chest as per terms of a sponsorship agreement, but in tournaments, this advertising is absent.

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 grey shirt available. The team have only ever used it once and that was in 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.
Date Venue Opponent Competition Score Irish scorers (International goal)
28 March 2009 Croke Parkmarker, Dublinmarker WCQ G8 1–1 D Richard Dunne (6)
1 April 2009 Stadio San Nicolamarker, Barimarker WCQ G8 1–1 D Robbie Keane (38)
29 May 2009 Craven Cottagemarker, Londonmarker Friendly 1–1 D Robbie Keane (39)
6 June 2009 Vasil Levski National Stadiummarker, Sofiamarker WCQ G8 1–1 D Richard Dunne (7)
12 August 2009 Thomond Parkmarker, Limerickmarker Friendly 0–3 L
5 September 2009 GSP Stadiummarker, Nicosiamarker WCQ G8 2–1 W Kevin Doyle (7) Robbie Keane (40)
8 September 2009 Thomond Parkmarker, Limerickmarker Friendly 1-0 W Liam Lawrence (1)
10 October 2009 Croke Parkmarker, Dublinmarker WCQ G8 2–2 D Glenn Whelan (2) Sean St. Ledger (1)
14 October 2009 Croke Parkmarker, Dublinmarker WCQ G8 0–0D
14 November 2009 Croke Parkmarker, Dublinmarker WCQ Play off 0–1L
18 November 2009 Stade de Francemarker, Parismarker WCQ Play off 1–1 D Robbie Keane (41)

2010 FIFA World Cup qualification

After finishing as runners-up in the group stage, Ireland were drawn to play France in a play-off over two legs. Ireland lost 2-1 on aggregate after extra time. The winning goal drew controversy after replays showed Sebastien Squillaci offside and in the line of play, and Thierry Henry controlling the ball twice with his forearm and hand before passing to William Gallas to score the winning goal. Desperate protests from Irish players were waved away by the referee. The FAI lodged an official appeal to FIFA, which was denied.

Competitive record

FIFA World Cup record

Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA
1930 to 1986 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1990 Quarter-finals 8 5 0 4 1 2 3
1994 Second round 15 4 1 1 2 2 4
1998 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
2002 Second Round 12 4 1 3 0 6 3
2006 to 2010 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
Total 3/19 - 13 2 8 3 10 10

UEFA European Championship record

Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA
1960 to 1984 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1988 Group Stage 5 3 1 1 1 2 2
1992 to 2008 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
Total 1/13 - 5 3 1 1 2 2

*Draws include knockout matches decided by penalty shootout.


Current squad

The following squad was named on 30 October 2009 for the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification - UEFA Second Roundplayoff against France.

FIFA World Cup History
Year Round Score Result
1990 Round 1 1 – 1 Draw
Round 1 0 – 0 Draw
Round 1 1 – 1 Draw
Round 2 0(5) – 0(4) Draw
Quarter-finals 0 – 1 Loss
1994 Round 1 1 – 0 Win
Round 1 1 – 2 Loss
Round 1 0 – 0 Draw
Round 2 0 – 2 Loss
2002 Round 1 1 – 1 Draw
Round 1 1 – 1 Draw
Round 1 3 – 0 Win
Round 2 1(2) – 1(3) Draw
UEFA Euro History
Year Round Score Result
1988 Round 1 1 – 0 Win
Round 1 1 – 1 Draw
Round 1 0 – 1 Loss


Between 1921 and 1969 a committee of selectors chose the team, on occasions a coach or team manager was appointed; Mick Meagan was the first manager to actually select the team. Managers from the periods in which the national side was known as the Irish Free State or simply Ireland are obscure and many are not current known, however it is known that Val Harris and Bill Lacey managed the side in the 1930s. Below is a list of managers from 1951 onwards, around the time when the national side became known as the Republic of Ireland:

Manager Career Played Won Drawn Lost Win %
1951 - 1953
1953 - 1955
1955 - 1967
1967 - 1969
1969 - 1971 12 0 3 9 0.00
1971 - 1973 10 3 1 6 30.00
(caretaker) 1973 1 0 1 0 0.00
1973 - 1980 37 14 9 14 37.84
(caretaker) 1980 1 1 0 0 100.00
1980 - 1985 40 11 9 20 27.50
1986 - 1995 94 47 30 17 50.00
1996 - 2002 68 29 19 20 42.65
(caretaker) 2002 1 0 1 0 0
2003 - 2005 32 17 11 4 53.13
2006 - 2007 17 6 5 6 35.29
(caretaker) 2007 - 2008 2 0 1 1 0
2008 - present 18 7 8 3 38.89

Most-capped players

, 33 Republic of Ireland players have been capped on more than 50 occasions.
Rank Name Career Caps Goals
1 Steve Staunton 1988 - 2002 102 7
Shay Given 1996 - present 102 0
Kevin Kilbane 1997 - 2009 102 7
4 Robbie Keane 1998 - present 96 41
5 Niall Quinn 1986 - 2002 91 21
6 Tony Cascarino 1986 - 2000 88 19
7 Paul McGrath 1985 - 1997 83 8
8 Packie Bonner 1981 - 1996 80 0
9 Damien Duff 1998 - present 80 7
10 Ray Houghton 1986 - 1998 73 6
11 Kenny Cunningham 1996 - 2005 72 0
Liam Brady 1975 - 1990 72 9
13 Kevin Moran 1980 - 1994 71 6
Frank Stapleton 1977 - 1990 71 20
15 Andy Townsend 1989 – 1997 70 7
16 John Aldridge 1986 - 1997 69 19
17 David O'Leary 1977 - 1993 68 1
18 Roy Keane 1991 - 2005 67 9
19 Ian Harte 1996 - 2005 64 11
20 Gary Breen 1996 - 2006 63 6

Record goal scorers

Rank Name Goals (Caps)
1 Robbie Keane 41 (96)
2 Niall Quinn 21 (91)
3 Frank Stapleton 20 (71)
4 Don Givens 19 (56)
Tony Cascarino 19 (88)
John Aldridge 19 (69)
7 Noel Cantwell 14 (36)
8 Gerry Daly 13 (48)
Jimmy Dunne 13 (15)

See also


  1. 1924 Olympic Games at Rsssf
  2. History of Irish Football
  3. United States results at Rsssf
  4. List of Dual Internationalists
  5. Ryan, op. cit. pg 59.
  6. Byrne, op. cit., pg 68
  7. SOCCER; Ireland Brings Cup Team With an English Accent to America New York Times, 29 May 1994

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