All-Ireland team could play England

Published Friday, 08 November 2013
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Taoiseach Enda Kenny has pitched the idea of an annual charity football match between an all-Ireland side and England.

All-Ireland team could play England
Leaders from across Ireland attended Friday's event. (© GAA)

He suggested bringing Northern Ireland and Republic players together under one banner for the clashes, which could be played at Wembley in London or at Croke Park in Dublin.

Mr Kenny said the money raised could be donated to hospitals across the island of Ireland.

"We could take on the might of England entirely for charity, for the children's hospitals (of Belfast and Dublin), for the children of the island, for research and development of what can impact on their little lives," said the Taoiseach.

"It is just a thought, it might be something that could become a reality."

The idea was raised at a conference in Armagh City on how sport can contribute to reconciliation in Northern Ireland on Friday.

Representatives from football, rugby and GAA attended.

Back in 1973 a squad of NI and Republic players took on Brazil, losing 4-3 in a match which was played as a gesture of friendship during some of the hardest years of the Troubles.

Irish Football Association president Jim Shaw said organising an all-Ireland v England game would be challenging - but believes it could be done.

Mr Shaw said: "There is no objection to it. It would be very difficult to organise it, to get these sorts of players from the two associations. It is a difficult proposition, but I am sure at some level it can be achieved if the desire is there."

However, on Friday evening, the IFA released a statement "to clarify that the idea is not, and will not be on the Association's radar."

© UTV News
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45 Comments
J in Northern Ireland wrote (250 days ago):
@Anto: You obviously have no idea what you are even talking about. "Listening to Sectarian abuse" What are you talking about? I have been going to Northern Ireland home games for the past 20 years. In the last 20 years the IFA ,working with supporter groups, have completely revolutionized the atmosphere at Windsor Park. It has changed to such an extent that the Northern Ireland Supporters were awarded the FIFA fans award for best supporters and atmosphere! They do not give that to fans singing Sectarian songs you fool! Your statement is one founded on your own imagination! An imagination that is obviously very negative and actually very sectarian in its consideration of what Northern Ireland fans are. When was the last time you watched a Northern Ireland Match or went to a Northern Ireland game? I suspect you have never done either. Which makes me think how could you sit on a computer and try to speak about "Sectarian singing" with out any first hand or second hand experiences of it? You are just blinded by your own bigotry, so much so, that when you hear "Northern Ireland team" you jump to your go to place of "it's a sectarian team" and "Sectarian songs" but the reality is that is all in your own small mind. As for players standing for God save the Queen.....So what?! The Ulster Rugby boys stand for the Soldier song at the Aviva don't they? Are you going to be writing a letter to the IRFU to request no Soldier song because you are so obviously into not offending anyone? Just as a matter of interest Anto...Who are you to be speaking on behalf of the players who play for the Green and White Army? I can pretty much guarantee that none of the players who represent Northern Ireland would want you to represent their views or thoughts on what they do. You would be best to keep your bigoted opinions to yourself! Consider yourself SCHOOLED!
Jim in Swords wrote (251 days ago):
The republic of ireland should change its name to IRELAND just like rugby and sort this out like all other sports on this island of ireland. Anyway that said this is for the sick kids so its a v good idea.
Nigel in Belfast wrote (253 days ago):
God idea and then maybe it could be extended to have a British & Irish football team just like the rugby Lions to take on other teams in charity matches.
Sam1690 in Ballysillan wrote (253 days ago):
Why just involve three out of five teams from the British Isles? if it is for raising money for children rather than making a political point that is. I'm sure that the Scottish and Welsh national teams would love to raise money for sick kids in their country too. They should bring back 'the Home Nations Cup' as an annual gala charity event, the trophy is still in Windsor Park since the IFA won the last one to be held. Edna is clearly trying to wind up Northern Ireland fans, or does he just not get the history behind the IFA, the second oldest Football Association in the world. seems a bit insensitive to me...
sean in donegal wrote (253 days ago):
Incredible some of the posts.Raising money for children is a fantastic idea.Typically some reactions never change.I wonder if the anti all things Irish brigade would feel if one of their children needed help and proceeds from All Ireland soccer team was the donor,,Would they refuse..Get a life people.
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