Irish International Soccer Cap Information & Facts : Most Ireland Caps, First Caps, Youngest Player
Information about Republic of Ireland Soccer Caps
The following are some interesting statistics, facts and information about the Republic of Ireland soccer team and Irish football in general.
Most Irish Caps for an Outfield Footballer
On 7th June 2013 Irish football captain Robbie Keane became the most capped player of all time for the Republic of Ireland. Keane led out the Irish team at the Aviva Stadium against the Faroe Islands, in a 2014 World Cup qualifier, to win his 126th international cap. This mark eclipsed the 125 caps then held by goalkeeper Shay Given at that time. Keane marked the occasion by scoring his second hat trick for Ireland (the first came in a Euro 2008 qualifier against San Marino in 2006). Those three goals took Keane’s scoring record for Ireland to 59. The victory was also Ireland’s 200th victory in senior football internationals. On his retirement from international football Robbie Keane held 146 caps for the Republic of Ireland.
Ireland’s record goal scorer won his first cap way back on the 25th March 1998, also against Easter European opposition – the Czech Republic. Although it took until his fifth match to record his first goals for his country Keane went on to become the record Irish goal scorer and reached a hugely significant milestone when he scored his 50th goal for Ireland on 4th June 2011 against Macedonia also in a 2012 Euro qualifier.
Most Caps for an Irish Goalkeeper
With 134 international caps Shay Given is the most capped goalkeeper that has ever appeared for the Republic of Ireland. Born in Lifford , County Donegal, Given made his debut in March 1996 in a friendly match against Russia at Lansdowne Road (now Aviva Stadium). Although Ireland conceded two goals on that occasion Given has delivered outstanding service to the Republic ever since. Shay Given earned his 100th cap, along with Kevin Kilbane, on 14th October 2009 in the 2010 World Cup qualifier against Montenegro at Croke Park. He kept a clean sheet that evening in a 0-0 draw.
Youngest Player to Win and International Cap for Ireland
On 30 May 1971 Jimmy Holmes became the youngest ever player to win an international cap for the Republic of Ireland soccer team. He was 17 years and 200 days when he lined out Ireland against Austria in a 1972 European qualifying match. Holmes still holds the record but he probably wanted to forget the result – the Austrians trounced the Irish 1-4 on the day at Dalymount Park.
First Footballers to Represent Ireland
The first senior soccer team to represent Irish Free State (as it was known then) was in the 1924 Paris Olympics. This team was entered under the auspices of the Olympic Council of Ireland and not the FAIFS so no official caps were awarded. The first team comprised the following players:
Patrick O’Reilly (Goalkeeper), Herbert Kerr, Jack McCarthy (Bohemians FC), John Joe Dykes, Ernest McKay, Tommy Muldoon (Athlone Town), Michael Farrell, Dinny Hannon (Athlone Town), Paddy Duncan (St James Gate), Joe Kendrick (Brooklyn FC), Johnny Murray (Bohemians FC). Dykes was captain of the team.
The match was played at 1:00pm at the Stade Olympique, Colombes, paris. The match oficials were: Referee; A. Henriot & Linesmen; Georges Vallat and Thomas Balvay (all French). The Irish won the match 1-0 with Paddy Duncan scoring the winner after 75 minutes.
Oldest Player to Win a Cap for the Republic of Ireland
Wexford’s Bill Lacey became the oldest player to be capped by Ireland on 23 April 1927. He was 37 years and 211 days old. He made his debut in Dublin against Italy ‘B’ in a 1-2 defeat. To this day he remains the oldest débutante for a representative team from the 26 counties. Bill Lacey is also to oldest player to ever represent Ireland. Lacey was 40 years and 225 days when he won his third, and last, cap for Ireland in a 1-3 victory over Belgium in Brussels.
[There is an argument that the oldest player to ever win a cap for an Irish football team is Sean Wilson aged 64 (ex Drogheda F.C. and Glebe North). Wilson was capped on Saturday 10th September 2011, versus England in a veterans international football match.]
Longest Gap Between First and Second Caps got Ireland
Dual international Alex Stevenson won his first cap for Ireland (Irish Free State XI) on 8 May 1932 in a 0-2 victory over Holland in Amsterdam. Stevenson, who unusually would go on to play for Rangers in Scotland, had to wait a further fourteen years and four months before he won his second cap for Ireland. On 30 September 1946 the Irish took on England at Dalymount Park. The English had beaten an IFA XI 2-7 in Belfast on the previous Saturday. Unusually, two of the players (Bill Gorman and Johnny Carey) that played for Ireland at Dalymount had also played in the Belfast match two days earlier. England ran out 1-0 winners with Tom Finney scoring the winning goal.
There are plenty more such soccer facts and statistics but if you have any gems that you think should be included or if you have any corrections please contact Soccer Ireland today.
Republic of Ireland Goal Facts – Irish Goal Information – Ireland Goal Statistics – Irish Goal Scorers