Republic of Ireland v Northern Ireland Match History
Since the establishment of separate IFA and FAI teams, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have faced each other on nine occasions, most recently in 1999, and perhaps most notably in 1993.
Republic of Ireland 0-0 Northern Ireland – 20th September 1978
After an impressive showing in World Cup 1978 qualifying, the Republic of Ireland were handed a difficult group with England, Denmark, Bulgaria, and Northern Ireland. The group’s opening game in Copenhagen, saw a 3-3 draw between the hosts and the Republic of Ireland. Next up, 46,000 people packed in to Lansdowne Road to see the first ever match between the two neighbours. Both teams fielded strong sides, but it was the goalkeepers who shone in what was essentially a dour anti-climax.
Rep. Ireland: Mick Kearns (Walsall), Tony Grealish (Orient), Mark Lawrenson (Brighton), Noel Synnott (Shamrock Rovers), Jimmy Holmes (Tottenham Hotspur), Gerry Daly (Derby County), Johnny Giles (Shamrock Rovers) capt, Liam Brady (Arsenal), Steve Heighway (Liverpool), Paul McGee (Queen’s Park Rangers), Frank Stapleton (Arsenal)
Subs: Mickey Walsh (Everton) for Stapleton 54 mins, Don Givens (Birmingham City) for Heighway 63 mins
N. Ireland: Jennings, Rice, Hunter, C Nicoll, Nelson, McCreery, J Nicholl, O’Neill, McIlroy, Armstrong, Spence
Subs: Cochrane for Spence 69 mins, Hamilton for Hunter 72 mins
Northern Ireland 1-0 Republic of Ireland – 21st November 1979
The reverse fixture at Windsor Park essentially decided who would become group runners-up to England. A win for the Republic would have made the final group game the qualifying decider, but Gerry Armstrong struck in the 54th minute to end the Republic’s slim hopes of making it to Italy. England went on to beat Bulgaria and the Republic, topping the group undefeated, with Northern Ireland sitting in second place.
Rep. Ireland: Mick Kearns (Wolverhampton), John Devine (Arsenal), David O’Leary (Arsenal), Pierce O’Leary (Shamrock Rovers), Ashley Grimes (Manchester Utd), Gerry Daly (Derby County), Mick Martin (Newcastle Utd) capt, Tony Grealish (Luton Town), Steve Heighway (Liverpool), Paul McGee (Preston North End), Frank Stapleton (Arsenal)
Subs: Joe Waters (Grimsby Town) for Daly 53 mins, Don Givens (Birmingham City) for McGee 75 mins
N. Ireland: Jennings, J Nicholl, Hunter, C Nicholl, Nelson, O’Neill, McCreery, Moreland, McIlroy, Armstrong, Spence
Subs: Cassidy for O’Neill 66 mins
Northern Ireland 0-0 Republic of Ireland – 14th September 1988
The next time the two sides met was during Jack Charlton’s tenure, but this time there were no clear favourites, with Northern Ireland having appeared at World Cup 1986 in Mexico, and the Republic having reached Euro 88. The other teams in the Italia 90 qualifying group were Spain, Hungary, and Malta, the last of whom were destroyed 3-0 by Northern Ireland in the group opener. Charlton’s team was very much established at that stage, with Chris Hughton and Kevin Moran both making their 40th appearances. The North had a strong strikeforce, with Jimmy Quinn and Clive Clarke leading the line. However, once more, the match ended goalless
Rep. Ireland: Gerry Peyton (Bournemouth), Chris Morris (Glasgow Celtic), Mick McCarthy (Glasgow Celtic), Kevin Moran (Sporting Gijon) capt, Chris Hughton (Tottenham), Ray Houghton (Liverpool), Paul McGrath (Manchester Utd), Ronnie Whelan (Liverpool), Kevin Sheedy (Everton), John Aldridge (Liverpool), Tony Cascarino (Milwall)
N. Ireland: McKnight, Donaghy, McClelland, McDonald, Worthington, Penney, D Wilson, O’Neill, Black, Quinn, Clarke
Subs: Rogan for Donaghy 45 mins
Republic of Ireland 3-0 Northern Ireland – 11th October 1989
A comfortable win for Jack Charlton’s side more or less sealed Ireland’s place in Italia 90, as a trip to minnows Malta was the final group game. The home side led at the break thanks to Ronnie Whelan’s goal, and then in the second-half killed off the match through Tony Cascarino and Ray Houghton. The victory, combined with Hungary’s draw with Spain meant that Ireland were set to qualify for their first ever World Cup.
Rep. Ireland: Packie Bonner (Glasgow Celtic), Chris Morris (Glasgow Celtic), Mick McCarthy (Olympique Lyon) capt, Kevin Moran (Sporting Gijon), Steve Staunton (Liverpool), Ray Houghton (Liverpool), Ronnie Whelan (Liverpool), Andy Townsend (Norwich City), Kevin Sheedy (Everton), John Aldridge (Real Sociedad), Tony Cascarino (Millwall)
Subs: David O’Leary (Arsenal) for Staunton 77 mins
N. Ireland: Dunlop, Fleming, McDonald, Donaghy, Worthington, D Wilson, McCreery, Whiteside, M O’Neill, Clarke, Dennison
Subs: C O’Neill for McCreery 71 mins, K Wilson for M O’Neill 79 mins
Republic of Ireland 3-0 Northern Ireland – 31st March 1993
The next time the two sides met was also for World Cup qualifying, and resulted in the same scoreline. A barnstorming opening half-hour put the Republic in control, being 3-0 after just 28 minutes. Captain Andy Townsend scored in the 19th minute, Niall Quinn struck two minutes later, and when Steve Staunton curled in direct from a corner, the match was over.
Rep. Ireland: Packie Bonner (Glasgow Celtic), Denis Irwin (Manchester Utd), Paul McGrath (Aston Villa), Kevin Moran (Blackburn Rovers), Terry Phelan (Manchester City), Ray Houghton (Aston Villa), Roy Keane (Nottingham Forest), Andy Townsend (Chelsea) capt, Steve Staunton (Aston Villa), Niall Quinn (Manchester City), Tommy Coyne (Tranmere Rover)
Subs: Tony Cascarino (Chelsea) for Coyne 78 mins, Eddie McGoldrick (Crystal Palace) for Quinn 84 mins
N. Ireland: Wright, Donaghy, Taggart, McDonald, Worthington, M O’Neill, Magilton, Morrow, Hughes, Dowie, Gray
Subs: Quinn for Magilton 50 mins, Black for M O’Neill 73 mins
Northern Ireland 1-1 Republic of Ireland – 17th November 1993
For many fans, the final group game in 1993 is the most memorable Irish qualifier ever. A win for the away side would see them qualify, while a win for the home side would see Denmark pip Ireland to second position (Spain won 1-0 at home to the Danes to top the table). The atmosphere throughout was heated, and the match scoreless when Alan McLoughlin was sent on in the 70th minute. Three minutes later, Jimmy Quinn scored, putting Northern Ireland one-up and the Republic out of the qualifying places. However, the substitute McLoughlin had the final say with his sensational goal in the 76th minute. After the game, Billy Bingham stepped down as Northern Ireland manager, while Jack took the Republic to a second World Cup.
Rep of Ireland: Packie Bonner (Glasgow Celtic), Denis Irwin (Manchester Utd), Terry Phelan (Manchester City), Alan Kernaghan (Manchester City), Paul McGrath (Aston Villa), Roy Keane (Manchester Utd), Andy Townsend (Aston Villa) capt, Ray Houghton (Aston Villa), Niall Quinn (Manchester City), John Aldridge (Tranmere Rovers), Eddie McGoldrick (Arsenal)
Subs: Alan McLoughlin (Portsmouth) for Houghton 70 mins, Tony Cascarino (Chelsea) for Aldridge 81 mins
N. Ireland: Wright, Fleming, McDonald, Taggart, Worthington, K Wilson, Donaghy, Magilton, Hughes, Quinn, Gray
Subs: Dowie for Gray 71 mins, Black for K Wilson 83 mins
Northern Ireland 0-4 Republic of Ireland – 16th November 1994
A year after that momentous game, the two sides met again in Euro 1996 qualifying. The match saw the visitors demolish the hosts (the Republic’s only win in Belfast to date). A wonderful first half saw goals from John Aldridge, Roy Keane, and John Sheridan, while Andy Townsend scored after the break.
Rep. Ireland: Alan Kelly (Sheffield Utd), Gary Kelly (Leeds Utd), Denis Irwin (Manchester Utd), Phil Babb (Liverpool), Paul McGrath (Aston Villa), Roy Keane (Manchester Utd), Andy Townsend (Aston Villa) capt, John Aldridge (Tranmere Rovers), Niall Quinn (Manchester City), John Sheridan (Sheffield Wednesday), Steve Staunton (Aston Villa)
Subs: Jason McAteer (Bolton) for Keane 44 mins, Tommy Coyne (Motherwell) for Aldridge 80 mins
N. Ireland: Kee, Fleming, Worthington, Morrow, Taggart, M O’Neill, Gillespie, Magilton, Dowie, Gray, Hughes
Subs: Patterson for M O’Neill 46 mins, K Wilson for Gillespie 62 mins
Republic of Ireland 1-1 Northern Ireland – 29th March 1995
The Republic of Ireland were first seeds for Euro 96 qualifying, but a draw in Dublin in March 1995, put Portugal back in the driving seat. Niall Quinn opened the scoring just after half-time, but an Iain Dowie strike 20 minutes from time ended the match in a draw. A 1-0 over Portugal wasn’t enough to resurrect Ireland’s campaign, and a 3-0 loss to the same side in the final game meant that Ireland were last in the runners-up table, resulting in a playoff with Holland. That match ended 2-0 in Liverpool, marking the final match of Jack Charlton’s career.
Rep. Ireland: Alan Kelly (Sheffield Utd), Gary Kelly (Leeds Utd), Denis Irwin (Manchester Utd), Phil Babb (Liverpool), Paul McGrath (Aston Villa), Roy Keane (Manchester Utd), Andy Townsend (Aston Villa) capt, David Kelly (Wolverhampton), Niall Quinn (Manchester City), John Sheridan (Sheffield Wednesday), Steve Staunton (Aston Villa)
Subs: Jason McAteer (Bolton) for D Kelly 74 mins, Tony Cascarino (Olympique Marseille) for Quinn 81 mins
N. Ireland: Fettis, Patterson, Worthington, Hill, Taggart, McDonald, Morrow, Magilton, Dowie, Hughes, Gillespie
Republic of Ireland 0-1 Northern Ireland – 29th May 1999
The only friendly between the two sides took place in 1999 as a charity fundraiser for the victims of the Omagh bombing. Where many of the previous matches had been anxious affairs, this game united both teams for one aim. Just over 12,000 fans turned out for the game, which took place ahead of Euro 2000 qualifying games for both sides. Both managers tried different approaches, leading to a disjointed game, with the only goal coming from Danny Griffin 7 minutes from time.
Rep. Ireland: Shay Given (Newcastle United), Stephen Carr (Tottenham), Alan Maybury (Leeds United), Lee Carsley (Blackburn Rovers), Kenny Cunningham (Wimbledon) capt, Phil Babb (Liverpool), Mark Kennedy (Manchester City), Mark Kinsella (Charlton), Niall Quinn (Sunderland), Robbie Keane (Wolverhampton), Damien Duff (Blackburn)
Subs: Alan McLoughlin (Portsmouth) for Carsley 46, David Connolly (Feyenoord) for Robbie Keane 56, Keith O’Neill (Middlesbrough) for Duff 56, Tony Cascarino (Nancy) for Quinn 71, Graham Kavanagh (Stoke City) for Babb 82
Subs not used: Gary Breen (Coventry), Alan Kelly (Blackburn), Dean Kiely (Charlton)
N. Ireland: Taylor, Patterson, Hughes, Williams, Hunter, Robinson, McCarthy, Lennon, Dowie, Quinn, Rowland
Subs: Carroll for Taylor 46, Coote for Dowie 46, Johnson for Rowland 74, Griffin for Lennon 79