Meetings between Ireland and England in the modern era
IRELAND v ENGLAND (STUTTGART, EURO 88)
The first big game of the modern era and the one we will never forget. Ray Houghton’s (pictured) victory jig or Big Jack’s beaming smile? Hard to rank images from that wonderful era in order of their ability to induce happiness. For many, these were the best days of our lives. Houghton’s goal won the match, a header which took an eternity to hit the back of the net but got there eventually and kicked off the most-nailing biting countdown in Irish sport. England peppered Packie Bonner’s goal but he stopped everything, including the hearts of two nations.
IRELAND v ENGLAND (CAGLIARI, 1990)
When the draw for the Italia 90 finals dropped Ireland in a group with England and Holland, Italian police knew where they priorities lay. Their big effort focused on Three Lions and Orange fans and the Irish were left alone.
There was no trouble at all between Ireland and England fans on a stormy night in the Stadio Sant’Elia, Gary Lineker scored, Kevin Sheedy equalised and Packie Bonner was a hero (pictured with Andy Townsend).
IRELAND v ENGLAND (LANSDOWNE ROAD, 1990)
Euro 92 dropped England and Ireland into the same group and with the Lansdowne Road leg of the qualification double-header up first and coming so soon after Italia 90, it was a game everyone felt Ireland could win.
David Platt put that thought to bed and although Ireland equalised through Tony Cascarino, the point dropped was to prove crucial in the final outcome.
Ireland beat Turkey 3-1 in the final series of games but Gary Lineker clawed back a lucky equaliser against Poland that earned England a point and top spot in the group.
ENGLAND v IRELAND (WEMBLEY, 1991)
The game spawned the phrase ‘playing silly buggers’ when Graham Taylor went into covert mode to try to prevent Jack Charlton from gaining information on his team. With Ireland fresh from Italia 90 and confidence riding high, the England boss needed all the help he could get.
Story of the game? Ireland won 1-1. In a match in which the action was concentrated for long spells around the England penalty area, Lee Dixon (inset) scored, Niall Quinn equalised and Ray Houghton missed a sitter to win it. Asked by an Irish journalists what were his feelings when the ball dropped to Razor with the clock almost up, he was unusually frank: “I was sh***ing myself.”
IRELAND v ENGLAND (LANSDOWNE ROAD, 1995)
Where were you when the English hooligans rioted? In some ways it was the death of our footballing innocence which up to that point had surfed a wave of good will around the globe and trumped all attempts at violence.
Everywhere Irish fans went they were welcomed with open arms and the naive attempt to return the compliment to English thugs ended up in a debacle. Bad enough as the violence was, we are fortunate that it was not a great deal worse. David Kelly got the goal which kicked it all off and the rest is history.
ENGLAND v Ireland (WEMBLEY, 2013)
Hands across the water from both Associations when the English FA issued an invite to the FAI for a place at the table in celebrations 150th anniversary. Celebrations at Wembley which Abbotstown was happy to accept.
The preferred option was a game in the newly revamped Lansdowne Road but Lancaster Gate have delivered in that commitment. The game at Wembley was a good-natured end-of-season canter which Shane Long kicked into life with a sublime lead goal and Frank Lampard killed as a contest when he equalised soon after.