Irish Soccer Facts & Republic of Ireland Information
The following are some interesting statistics, facts and information about the Republic of Ireland soccer team and Irish football in general.
Fastest Goal by a Substitute for the Republic of Ireland
The quickest goal scored by a substitute for Ireland’s soccer team was scored by Preston North End’s John Anderson in 1979. It was a friendly match against the USA at Lansdowne Road (now the Aviva Stadium) on 29 November 1979. With the match poised at 2-2 John Anderson came on as a substitute for David O’Leary in the 65th minute and within three minutes he had scored the winning goal for the Republic.
This feat was matched by Tony Cascarino, who qualified to play for Ireland through the so-called Granny Rule, almost 14 years later. During the 1994 World Cup qualifiers the Republic of Ireland team was drawing 1-1 with Albania in Tirana and finding it hard to get the winning goal. After 74 minutes Irish manager Jack Charlton withdrew John Aldridge and sent on substitute Tony Cascarino. Three minutes later Cascarino had notched the winning goal to earn Ireland three valuable World Cup qualification points.
The Republic of Ireland’s Most Frequent Soccer Opponents
The team that the Republic of Ireland has played most often in soccer is Spain. The two football nations have met on no less than 25 occasions. In those 25 matches Spain has won on 14 occasions and the Irish have won just four matches. Spain is also the country that Ireland has played most often in competitive soccer matches having played each other 15 times. This sequence also includes the 1966 World Cup play-off match in Paris. The Republic of Ireland’s record against Spain is outlined below:
Ireland’s Most Frequent Opponent in Friendly Matches
The team that the Republic of Ireland has played most often in friendly soccer matches is Poland. The two countries have met on 27 occasions and amazingly 23 of these football matches have been friendlies. It is unclear why they have met so often in friendlies* however a summary table of soccer results between the Republic of Ireland and Poland is below.
The only competitive matches played between Poland and the Republic of Ireland were four matches, two in the 1992 European qualification campaign and two in the 2016 Euro qualifiers.
Ray Houghton and the Republic of Ireland
It’s a little known fact that Ray Houghton is the last Scottish-born player to score against England in an international soccer match. His winning goal for the Republic of Ireland in Stuttgart in Euro 88 retains that distinction. Although Don Hutchison did score the winner against England for Scotland in a match in November 1999, he was born in Gateshead in England.
It is also a fact that Ray Houghton was voted the Scottish man-of-the-match by Scottish journalists after the Republic of Ireland’s 0-1 victory over Scotland at Hampden Park in the Euro 88 qualifiers.
Goalkeeper Captains of the Republic of Ireland
Only two goalkeepers have ever captained Republic of Ireland soccer teams. Alan Kelly Snr. who won 47 Irish caps first captained the team in a 1974 World Cup Qualification match on 18 October 1972. It was a 1-2 defeat to the Soviet Union at Lansdowne Road. On the occasion of his 80th Irish cap Shay Given was handed the captain’s armband for the Republic of Ireland’s home match against Slovakia in the Euro 2008 qualifiers. Kevin Doyle scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory at Croke Park.
* In his book; The Team That Jack Built, Paul Rowan suggests that matches against Poland provided a backdrop for certain FAI officials to benefit financially: “The Football Association of Ireland was well treated over there, the officials were well looked after by the Poles, Dollars would be changed for the local currency, zloty, at up to ten times their face value on the black market. It was a great place to buy cut-glass for virtually nothing once the money was changed. The trips spawned a number of business deals. One council member of the time used to buy ladies underwear in bulk from Poland for sale back in Ireland.”
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