Monday 11 December 2017

A country by any other name

• Could we once and for all cease this pointless controversy on the correct title for the Republic of Ireland (or Eire) football team? The latest nonsense comes courtesy of Dermot Curran of Buncrana (Letters, June 6), who claims the proper name for our country is Ireland.

Yes, Mr Curran, indeed the proper name for our island is Ireland. But it might have escaped your notice that, for the past 92 years, our country has been politically divided into two separate and distinct states. And while we, or at least the indigenous population, are all Irish and are proud to support our Ireland rugby team, our Ireland cricket team, our hockey teams and our splendid boxers, all these sporting codes represent the entire geographical country of Ireland.

Regrettably, this is not the case with soccer. The Irish Football Association (IFA) was formed in 1880 and we played our first match in 1882 against England. We were beaten 13-0, incidentally, for our trouble. The IFA continued to represent all of Ireland until World War Two.

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