Thursday 19 April 2018

Kenny makes All-Ireland soccer team proposal

Fionnan Sheahan Group Political Editor

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny wants an all-Ireland soccer team to play charity matches against England.

The idea comes as former Northern Ireland international Martin O'Neill is about to be officially appointed as Republic of Ireland manager.

Mr Kenny is proposing the games be played in Dublin, Belfast and London to raise funds for research and developments at specialist hospitals on both sides of the Border.

New children's hospitals are planned in both Dublin and Belfast.

Mr Kenny also mentioned Croke Park as a possible venue.

"We could take on the might of England entirely for charity, for the children's hospitals (in Belfast and Dublin), for the children of the island, for research and development of what can impact on their little lives," he said.

"It would be a gesture from the sports people that would have a profound impact."

The idea comes 40 years after an all-Ireland team – billed as a Shamrock Rovers XI and which included John Giles, Pat Jennings and O'Neill – played Brazil, who won 4-3, in Dublin.

Mr Kenny's proposal during a meeting in Armagh received support from political leaders north and south of the Border, although the head of Northern Ireland's governing Irish Football Association said it was a "difficult proposition".

Irish Independent

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