A team not yet 100 years old
She will celebrate her centenary next year.
It was in 1924, after the Irish War of Independence (January 21, 1919-July 11, 1921) – which pitted the Irish Republican Army (IRA) against British Crown forces – and the Irish Civil War (June 28, 1922- May 24, 1923) – conflict which saw the separatists clash because of the Treaty of London –, that the Irish football selection was born.
For the record, it was at the gates of Paris, at the Stade Yves-du-Manoir, in Colombes, that the Men in Green played their first official match: it was May 28, 1924, against Bulgaria ( 1-0 victory) at the Olympic Games in Paris.
Euro 2024: the qualifying calendar
Euro 2024: dates, place, draw
The quarter-finals as a glass ceiling
A glass ceiling.
In its entire history, the Irish national team has had three participations in the World Cup (in 1990, 1994 and 2002), as many in the Euros (in 1988, 2012 and 2016) and two in the Olympic Games (in 1924 and 1948).
And despite some good runs, the Men in Green have never managed to reach the last four of a major competition.
They stopped at the quarter-final stage during the 1924 Olympic Games, the 1964 European Championship and the 1990 World Cup. In 2016, at the Euro organized in France - their last participation in a major tournament - they had been eliminated in the round of 16 ... by the Blues (2-1), unfortunate finalists.
An honorable record against France
For a century, Ireland and France have faced each other seventeen times.
Quite logically, it was the Blues who won the most during their oppositions with eight victories.
But against a much better nation in terms of football, the record of the Men in Green remains honorable since they have nevertheless snatched four successes (and five draws).
This Monday evening, they will have the opportunity to offer themselves a prestigious victory against the vice-world champions and thus to rebalance the debates.
A strong English accent
Twenty-three out of twenty-six.
The vast majority of the players selected by Stephen Kenny for the international matches in March play in England.
Six of them play in the Premier League: goalkeepers Gavin Bazunu (Southampton FC), Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool FC) and Mark Travers (AFC Bournemouth), defenders Seamus Coleman (Everton FC) and Nathan Collins (Wolverhampton Wanderers) and striker Evan Ferguson (Brighton & Hove Albion).
For the rest, sixteen tread the lawns of Championship (English D2) and one those of League One (English D3) every week.
Note that none of the elements selected are from the Airtricity League, the Irish first division.
The Evan Ferguson nugget
It is the little nugget of Irish football.
18-year-old Evan Ferguson represents the future of the Men in Green.
Since the end of 2022, the center forward has managed to make his mark in the Premier League, in the beautiful team of Brighton & Hove Albion.
In just ten appearances, he found the net three times and also provided two assists.
Everyone is talking about him.
We haven't had a player like him since Robbie Keane, and that was 25 years ago!
Gary Connaughton, journalist at
This Monday evening, the Blues will have to be wary of him.