Irish Soccer Information & Facts
The following are some interesting statistics, facts and information about the Republic of Ireland soccer team and Irish football in general.
Republic of Ireland Brothers that Played Together
Six sets of brothers have played for the Republic of Ireland soccer team but only four have actually played in the same team at the same time. The first pair of brothers to simultaneously represent Ireland on a soccer pitch were the O’Flanagans in September 1946 against England at Dalymount Park. Kevin O’Flanagan and Mick O’Flanagan played soccer for Ireland together just this once and unfortunately for them it was a 0-1 defeat.
The famous Manchester United full back Tony Dunne and his brother, goalkeeper Pat Dunne, played together for the Republic of Ireland on four occasions. Three of them were against Spain in the 1966 World Cup qualifiers including the infamous Paris play-off match. Their last appearance together was in an Irish home win against Turkey. [It has been brought to my attention that Tony and Pat were NOT brothers. I am seeking confirmation one way or the other. John]
The next pair of brothers to play for the Republic of Ireland football team was David O’Leary and Pierce O’Leary on 17 October 1979. It was a 1980 European Championship qualification match against Bulgaria at Lansdowne Road (now the Aviva Stadium). Ireland won 3-0. The O’Leary brothers played together in a total of three matches and on another occasion Pierce came on as a substitute for David against England at Wembley.
The latest brothers to play together for the Republic of Ireland were Stephen Hunt and Noel Hunt. Noel Hunt joined Stephen in the Irish soccer team when he came on as a substitute for Kevin Doyle against Italy, in Bari on 1 April 2009. It was a 2010 World Cup qualifier and Ireland earned a late draw when Robbie Keane equalised after 88 minutes.
O’Leary Brothers in Arms
Ireland lost 2-0 to England on 6 February 1980 in a Euro 1980 qualification match. The squad for the match included two brothers, David and Pierce O’Leary. In itself this is not particularly remarkable as five other sets of brothers have represented the Republic of Ireland.
What is unique is, that Pierce was brought on as a substitute for David after 68 minutes. There is no other record of one brother replacing another as substitute in a senior Irish international soccer match.
Irish Football Opponent Played at the Most Different Soccer Venues
Relative to the number of times that they have played each other the Republic of Ireland and Wales have played each other on the most varied list of soccer venues. The teams have played each other on eleven occasions and have played at nine different venues:
Republic of Ireland Players Sent Off
Packie Bonner remains the only Republic of Ireland soccer goalkeeper to be sent off during an Irish international football match. At the Foxboro Stadium in Boston Ireland were playing Italy in a mini tournament on 4 June 1992. Bonner was sent off for pulling down the Italian, Signori.
On the occasion of his thirtieth cap for Ireland, and his first under Mick McCarthy as manager, Roy Keane was sent off against Russia in March 1996. It was his only sending off while playing for the Republic of Ireland but unfortunately it was also the first time that he wore the captain’s armband after Andy Townsend, who qualified to play for Ireland via the Granny Rule, had been substituted.
In another American soccer tournament in June 1996 the Republic of Ireland team had two players and the team manager sent off. In a tempestuous football match with Mexico in Giants Stadium Niall Quinn, Liam Daish and manager Mick McCarthy were all red-carded. McCarthy’s card was subsequently rescinded on appeal.
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.
Republic of Ireland Goal Facts – Irish Goal Information – Ireland Goal Statistics – Irish Goal Scorers