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Old enemies Ireland and England roll back the years


Ray Houghton (second from right, and partially hidden) heads home the winner past England ‘keeper Peter Shilton in Stuttgart in 1988

Ray Houghton (second from right, and partially hidden) heads home the winner past England ‘keeper Peter Shilton in Stuttgart in 1988

Bob Thomas/Getty Images

Ray Houghton (second from right, and partially hidden) heads home the winner past England ‘keeper Peter Shilton in Stuttgart in 1988

Sunday's Aviva Stadium encounter between Ireland and England is the 16th meeting of the two nations since World War II when relations between the two associations improved.

They've engaged in some historic battles along the way, matches that were major news when they happened and games where the significance only became apparent in hindsight. Ahead of the latest chapter, we rank the 15 games.

1 - June 1988, Stuttgart

European Championships

Ireland 1 (Houghton 6) England 0

The first Irish appearance at a major tournament and the luck of the draw dictated that England would provide the opposition. That was an amazing story in its own right and then Ray Houghton scored the header that delivered a famous victory. It's a game that has inspired many songs and stories. Unlikely to figure highly in many English charts, especially as they created plenty of chances without converting as the men in green hung on.

Ireland - Bonner, Morris, Hughton, McCarthy, Moran, Houghton, Whelan, McGrath, Galvin (Sheedy 76), Aldridge, Stapleton (Quinn 63)

England - Shilton, Stevens, Sansom, Wright, Adams, Robson, Webb (Hoddle 60), Waddle, Barnes, Beardsley (Hateley 82), Lineker

2 - May 1957, Dublin

World Cup Qualifier

Ireland 1 (Ringstead 3) England 1 (Atyeo 90)

From one extreme of Irish emotion to another. This was a momentous occasion that ended with a sickening punch in the gut. At a packed Dalymount, Ireland led into the last minute until John Atyeo's goal robbed them of a one-off game with the English for a place in the 1958 World Cup. Philip Greene's radio commentary expertly captured the devastation. Manchester United team-mates Liam Whelan and Duncan Edwards went toe-to-toe in this famous match; a year later they perished in the Munich crash.

Ireland - Godwin, Dunne, Hurley, Cantwell, Saward, Nolan, Ringstead, Haverty, Curtis, Fitzsimons, Whelan

England - Hodgkinson, Byrne, Hall, Wright, Edwards, Clayton, Pegg, Atyeo, Finney, Taylor, Haynes

3 - June 1990, Cagliari

World Cup

Ireland 1 (Sheedy 72) England 1 (Lineker 8)

England were on a revenge mission from Euro 88 and started pretty well when Gary Lineker put them ahead. Ireland's persistence was summed up by the equalising goal from Kevin Sheedy as he kept pressing before successfully firing home a daisy-cutter. This was a meeting of two decent teams; Ireland exited at the quarter-final stage and England lost the semi-final on penalties.

Ireland - Bonner, Morris, Staunton, McCarthy, Moran, Houghton, McGrath, Townsend, Sheedy, Aldridge (McLoughlin 64), Cascarino

England - Shilton, Stevens, Pearce, Walker, Butcher, Robson, Waddle, Gascoigne, Barnes, Lineker (Bull 83), Beardsley (McMahon 69).

4 - September 1949, Liverpool


England 0 Ireland 2 (Martin pen 32, Farrell 85)

It was only a friendly but this was of a game of considerable historical relevance although the green tinted glasses are coming to the fore again here. The victorious Irish team at Goodison Park were the first foreign side to beat England on their own turf. Con Martin and Peter Farrell scored for Ireland; news of their exploits didn't reach home until the following day.

England - Williams, Mozley, Aston, Wright, Franklin, Dickinson, Harris, Finney, Pye, Mannion, Morris

Ireland - Godwin, Carey, Aherne, B Walsh, Martin, Moroney, Corr, Farrell, D Walsh, Desmond, O'Connor

5 - March 1991, London

European Championship Qualifier

England 1 (Dixon 9) Ireland 1 (Quinn 27)

This was the campaign that got away for Ireland. Jack Charlton's side were arguably at their peak in the race to Euro 92 but mistakes at crucial moments cost them dearly. They were excellent at Wembley and Niall Quinn deservedly cancelled out Lee Dixon's opener. Houghton squandered a glorious chance to win it and was bawled out of it by his manager in the players' lounge afterwards. Regular travelling fans in that era rate it as a great Irish display.

England - Seaman, Dixon, Pearce, M Wright, Adams (Sharpe 46), Walker, Platt, Robson, Beardsley, Lineker (I Wright 76), Barnes

Ireland - Bonner, Staunton, Irwin, O'Leary, Moran, McGrath, Townsend, Houghton, Sheedy, Aldridge (Cascarino 71), Quinn

6 - May 1957, London

World Cup Qualifier

England 5 (Taylor 9, 18, 40; Atyeo 38, 89) Ireland 1 (Curtis 86)

The English leg of the 1958 qualifiers took place just 11 days before the aforementioned drama in Dalymount. Again, there's a poignant postscript as the great Tommy Taylor, another Busby Babe, lashed home a hat-trick to propel the hosts towards a World Cup that he wasn't alive to play in. Irish rookie Charlie Hurley subsequently did a good job of stifling Taylor in Dublin.

England - Hodgkinson, Byrne, Hall, Wright, Edwards, Clayton, Matthews, Atyeo, Taylor, Finney, Haynes

Ireland - Kelly, Donovan, Cantwell, Farrell, Saward, Ringstead, Haverty, Curtis, Fitzsimons, Whelan, Mackey

7 - September 1976, London


England 1 (Pearson 44) Ireland 1 (Daly (pen) 57)

Another friendly that really meant something to the Irish protagonists. Nineteen years after the last trip to England, a talented team performed extremely well at Wembley with Liam Brady excelling and Gerry Daly snatching a late leveller. For the emigrant population in London, it was a special evening and it bred hopes that qualification for the next World Cup was possible under the stewardship of John Giles. Alas, that didn't come to pass.

England - Clemence, Todd, Cherry, McFarland, Greenhoff, Madeley, Wilkins, Brooking, George (Hill 65), Pearson

Ireland - Kearns, Mulligan, O'Leary, Holmes, Brady, Giles, Heighway, Martin, Daly, Giles, Conroy

8 - October 1978, Dublin

European Championship Qualifier

Ireland 1 (Daly 24) England 1 (Latchford 8)

A pulsating fixture at the outset of another campaign that concluded with an incredibly familiar scoreline. Ireland bounced back from an early concession to nab a point with special praise reserved for defenders David O'Leary and Mark Lawrenson. But the coverage of the game isn't coated in the language of moral victory; it was the third Irish draw on the trot and deflation was the primary emotion.

Ireland - Kearns, Mulligan, Lawrenson, O'Leary (Gregg 73), Holmes, Brady, Daly, Grealish, Givens, McGee (Stapleton 65), Ryan

England - Clemence, Neal, Mills, Watson (Thompson 22), Hughes, Wilkins, Coppell, Brooking, Barnes (Woodcock 81), Keegan, Latchford

9 - September 1946, Dublin


Ireland 0 England 1 (Finney 82)

The English FA had refused to play or even recognise the FAI's team before World War II so this was a notable encounter. Dalymount Park heaved and the great Tom Finney notched the decisive strike. England had actually played the IFA's 'Ireland' in a Home Nations encounter in Belfast earlier in the week but they agreed to travel south for the FAI's 25th anniversary. Eamon de Valera hosted a pre-match reception.

Ireland -Breen, Gorman, Hayes, Carey, Martin, Walsh, K O'Flanagan, Coad, M O'Flanagan, Stevenson, Eglington

England - Swift, Scott, Hardwick, Franklin, Wright, Cockburn, Langton, Lawton, Finney, Carter, Mannion

10 - November 1990, Dublin

European Championship Qualifier

Ireland 1 (Cascarino 80) England 1 (Platt 67)

Five months after Cagliari, the Euro qualifier in Dublin was not much of a spectacle with the wind and the poor Lansdowne Road pitch cited as factors. Still, there was happy Irish ending as Tony Cascarino popped up with a late equaliser ten minutes from time. At the end of qualifying, Charlton was left with a sense of regret about their home form.

Ireland - Bonner, Morris, Staunton, O'Leary, McCarthy, McGrath, Townsend, Whelan (McLoughlin 74), Houghton, Aldridge, Quinn (Cascarino 61)

England - Woods, Dixon, Pearce, Wright, Walker, Adams, Cowans, Platt, McMahon, Beardsley, Lineker

11 - February 1980, London

European Championship Qualifier

England 2 (Keegan 34, 75) Ireland 0

This was billed as a clash of Kevin Keegan and Liam Brady and the former came out on top by scoring both goals for an experimental English side that had already successfully booked their passage to the next phase. Therefore, the dead rubber didn't end up living too long in the memory - unlike the other competitive clashes on the list.

England - Clemence, Cherry, Thompson, Watson, Sansom, Robson, Cunningham, McDermott, Johnson (Coppell 60), Keegan, Woodcock

Ireland - Peyton (Healey 60), Hughton, D O'Leary (P O'Leary 68), Lawrenson, Grimes, Daly, Grealish, Brady, O'Brien, Heighway, Stapleton

12 - May 2013, London


England 1 (Lampard 23) Ireland 1 (Long 13)

The friendly international is a different animal these days, yet there was quite a buzz around Wembley before kick-off and the Irish masses celebrated feverishly when Shane Long headed a Seamus Coleman cross into the net to go ahead. England levelled and the second half was short on intensity but a peaceful affair is what the organisers wanted. It paved the way for this weekend.

England - Hart (Foster 46), Johnson (Jones 46), Cahill, Jagielka, Cole (Baines 54), Walcott, Lampard, Carrick, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Milner 87), Rooney, Sturridge (Defoe 33).

Ireland - Forde, Coleman, O'Shea, St. Ledger, Kelly, Walters (Sammon 82), McCarthy, Whelan (Hendrick 74), McGeady (McClean 68), Long, Keane (Cox 66).

13 - May 1964, Dublin


Ireland 1 (Strahan 42) England 3 (Eastham 9, Byrne 22, Greaves 56)

The anticipation levels in Phibsborough were high but all the archived reports suggest this was a complete mis-match as an England team that was two years away from being crowned world champions strolled to a facile win. "England let us down lightly," was the headline in these pages. Jimmy Greaves was on the mark for the victors, with Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton making strong contributions to proceedings.

Ireland - Dwyer, Cantwell, Strahan, Browne, Dunne, Giles, Ambrose, McGrath, Haverty, Bailham, McEvoy

England - Walters, Cohen, Wilson, Moore, Thompson, Milne, Flowers, Charlton, Byrne, Greaves, Eastham

14 - March 1985, London


England 2 (Steven 44, Lineker 75) Ireland 1 (Brady 87)

The final year of Eoin Hand's tenure and both the manager and his players were unhappy with their display. Brady's late consolation put a gloss on the scoreline. "We froze on the night - we were much too tentative," said Hand. Trevor Steven and Gary Lineker struck for the hosts. "A mediocre match won by a not much more than mediocre side," wrote Irish Independent reporter Noel Dunne.

England - Bailey, Anderson, Sansom, Wright, Butcher, Robson (Hoddle 67), Steven, Waddle, Wilkins, Hateley (Davenport 73), Lineker

Ireland - Bonner, Hughton, Beglin, Lawrenson, McCarthy, McGrath (O'Leary 46), Brady, Waddock, Whelan (O'Callaghan 70), O'Keefe (Byrne 79), Stapleton

15 - February 1995, Dublin


Ireland v England (abandoned)

The lowest moment in football relations between the countries as travelling hooligans ensured that David Kelly's deadlock-breaker would be struck from the records. It's taken 20 years for England to return and future meetings of a non-competitive nature hinge on a successful security operation this weekend.

Ireland - Kelly, Irwin, Phelan, Kernaghan, McGrath, Townsend, Sheridan, McGoldrick, Staunton, Kelly, Quinn

England - Seaman, Barton, Le Saux, Pallister, Adams, Platt, Ince, Anderton, Le Tissier, Beardsley, Shearer

Irish Independent