Thursday 17 August 2017

Why England will always hold a special place as our sporting enemy

The last time we played England on home soil was on 15 February 1995, when the game was famously abandoned. This photo shows David Kelly, Republic of Ireland, scoring the opening goal past England goalkeeper David Seaman. Picture: David Maher/SPORTSFILE
The last time we played England on home soil was on 15 February 1995, when the game was famously abandoned. This photo shows David Kelly, Republic of Ireland, scoring the opening goal past England goalkeeper David Seaman. Picture: David Maher/SPORTSFILE
Mandy Johnston

Mandy Johnston

The Tricolour flying over Windsor Castle was indeed a sight to behold last week. The incongruity of our flag alongside the Union Jack made for a curious juxtaposition and was a rare sight for Irish people.

While we have reached a new phase in our political and social relationship with Britain, there is another rivalry which is not likely to dissipate or be diluted by our new-found friendship any time soon. And that is the one played out on the international sports field.

Sporting encounters between Ireland and England hold a unique fascination for Irish sports fans. There is something visceral and almost tribal about the encounters.

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