Munster backs all-island soccer team
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Sport Imelda Munster TD has backed calls for the formation of an all-Ireland soccer team after Ireland’s departure from the World Cup qualifiers.
Speaking after Ireland’s agonising result against Denmark in the World Cup qualifiers play-off, Deputy Munster expressed commiserations to the team, and proposed that the merging of the island’s two soccer teams could be a means of securing improved results for Ireland in future international competitions.
Deputy Munster said:
“We had a situation in the past week where two Irish teams made it to play-offs and, unfortunately, both teams were unsuccessful. If we pooled the resources and players of the island, we build from a stronger platform and that could very well produce great results in international competition.
“We already have all-island teams in sports like hockey, rugby, and boxing; sports that demonstrate that we can achieve great success when we work on an all-island basis. Irish teams have won rugby Grand Slams and Triple Crowns and we have been very successful in boxing and golf in recent years.
“I don’t think it makes sense for a small island to have two separate teams competing, thus splitting the pool of talent and resources available to us. I believe that support is growing for a move towards a united team, and I am calling on Minister Shane Ross and Junior Minister Brendan Griffin to begin exploratory talks with all stakeholders involved on both sides of the border. We could all get behind an all-Ireland soccer team, and with a stronger team, we might have even more to celebrate at future international competitions.”