Souvenirs of previous contests skyrocket in price
AS the countdown begins in earnest to Ireland's first game in Euro 2012, the price of football memorabilia continues to rise.
A football signed by the Irish soccer squad that played England in Italia 90 is expected to fetch more then €1,000 when it goes under the hammer.
Jack Charlton's men drew 1-1 against England in their opening match of the World Cup in Cagliari.
"Items from the Charlton era always sell well, but the fact that this ball was signed by an Irish team which took on England has aroused a huge amount of interest," auctioneer Ian Whyte told the Irish Independent.
Kevin Sheedy became the first Irishman to score in the World Cup finals in that match -- equalising Gary Lineker's early goal with just 17 minutes left.
Although the football being auctioned was not used in the match, it was signed by the Irish team straight after the game.
It was later given as a gift to the ball's current owner, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Another item in the 'History, Literature and Collectibles Sale' by Whyte's on September 15, is an Ireland football jersey signed by Roy Keane, and given an estimate price of €200.
Recent high sales for Irish soccer memorabilia include a programme from the first match at Dalymount between Bohemians and Preston in 1901, which made €1,500.
Other Irish football programmes sought by collectors include early internationals from 1922 to the 1940s, and the very rare post-war 1940s summer friendlies between English and Irish teams, such as Manchester United v Drumcondra, which can fetch up to €500.