Since 1921, the island has been split into two countries, of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and each has had their own football team. This has meant that each country has only a small pool of players to pick from, and has struggled to produce a team capable of competing with the major forces in the sport. There have been campaigns in recent years for an All-Ireland team once again, with players from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland being selected to play together.
This would mean the best players from both sides of the border would merge to create a more competitive side. George Best and Sammy McIlroy are just two world class Northern Irish players that would have been huge assets to the Republic and given the team a better chance of appearing at major finals.
The Irish rugby team does select players from both countries, and is capable of beating some of the best teams in the world.
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1904 Maurice O’Sullivan was born on Great Blasket Island, County Kerry on this day in 1904. As a native of Great Basket Island, a community that retained the Irish language and customs, O’Sullivan was persuaded to write his memoirs, as British interest grew in traditional Ireland. Language scholar George Thomson and Moya Llewelyn Davies edited an English translation O’Sullivan’s memoirs.
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1939 On this day in 1939, Taoiseach – Éamon de Valera states that Ireland will adopt a neutral position in regards to the outbreak of World War II.
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1942 Happy birthday to Irish musician and producer Phil Coulter, who was born in Derry, Northern Ireland on this day in 1942. Coulter has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry including Boyzone and Sinéad O’Connor, and Celtic Thunder.
In 1995, Coulter wrote Ireland’s Call after being asked for a politically neutral song that could become the anthem for the national rugby team, who selected players born in both the North and Republic of Ireland.f
A stirring rendition of this favourite sung by Maria Forde in Melbourne 14th June 2008
Phil Coulter with a heart-felt introduction to The Town I Loved So Well. The video shows images of Derry with Phil accompanying himself on the piano. This is the song he says he would like to be remembered for.
History, background to The Town I Loved So Well, videos (including a memorable performance by Luke Kelly) and lyrics and chords here.