Should the IFA adopt its own national anthem?

Recently we had the disgraceful but in some ways predictable behaviour of some fans (but at least it was a minority) at the Northern Ireland versus Republic of Ireland match during the playing of the National Anthems. I was always taught that no matter how you feel about a country, or its government’s policies, you should always respect the national anthem. However, at the same time – why do the Irish Football Association still continue to use God Save the … Read more

Euro 2016: Northern Ireland through to last 16

Despite losing to world champions Germany earlier today, Northern Ireland’s footballers have secured a place in the last 16 of the UEFA European Championship 2016.  There they’ll face either France or Wales. A heroic performance by NI’s freelance keeper, Michael McGovern, kept the ball out of the net on all but one occasion and the 1-0 win for Germany left Northern Ireland in third place in Group C on 3 points following their win over Ukraine.  Crucially, though, they had … Read more

#Euro2016 sees tensions between Irish supporters at their most relaxed for decades

Now, not everyone will agree with this piece from Brendan Ciarán Browne of TCD, but I suspect it has some resonance given the events of recent days (and not just official inputs). But whatever the media perceptions, the data is once again, ahead of the game: …in 2014, it was found that 63% of those surveyed believed that sport has the potential to break down traditional inter-community barriers. And in 2015, a major study of sport and social exclusion in Northern Ireland found … Read more

Cartoon – Lose-lose for Germany and Greece

The Republic of Ireland beat the creditor state 1-0. Northern Ireland beat the debtor state 3-1. For a short moment Germany and Greece are both losers. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/

Football Eligibility: An Issue for the Misinformed and Those Seeking to Deny National Rights?

The matter of the eligibility of northern-born Irish nationals to play for the Football Association of Ireland was raised again recently at a panel discussion on sport and reconciliation during the 50th plenary session of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA). It was co-chaired by Frank Feighan of Fine Gael, who told us that the “trend… deserves careful consideration”. This dispute has long been resolved, however, with football’s governing body, FIFA, providing ample clarification as to the correct application of their … Read more

Minister green lights ‘Irish Beef’ label just as southern beef farmers lunge into crisis…

Unfortunate timing for the Agriculture Minister’s new labelling ‘concession’ for so-called ‘nomadic beef’. In Michelle O’Neill’s own terms, here’s the ‘problem’… #168316801 / gettyimages.com I am of the strong view that the term ‘nomad cattle’ has no place on this island and following discussions with industry stakeholders and Minister Coveney in the south, I am hopeful that this issue can be resolved. “This has been a problem for some time because cattle imported from the south and slaughtered in the … Read more

“Residents also protested outside the local Sinn Féin offices…”

As the BBC reports, local residents have continued their protest against the planned £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast.  From the UTV report Around 100 residents took part in a demonstration on Saturday afternoon. They say they are now considering taking legal action. One woman said: “The main thing is the height of it, it’s going to be about 129ft and right around the whole outskirts of the houses.” A man said: “It’s an absolute monstrosity. The residents … Read more

Culture Minister faces down IFA over reappointment of Martin…

Well, I have to say our ministers don’t have a lot of power to act effectively on their own, but Carál Ní Chuilín was adamant yesterday in the Assembly that her department was not going to back down over her refusal to allow funding to the Irish Football Association for the redevelopment of Windsor Park. Why? This piece in the Belfast Telegraph explains: At the centre of the row is one man, David Martin, who was elected deputy president of … Read more

Attwood announces a new Windsor Park…

At £25m, it’s one of the more modest projects, but no doubt none the less welcome for that.. Perhaps the weekend’s evidence of some rapprochement between rival supporters under unreasonable and external sectarian pressure, may herald a better future for NI soccer generally [no sniggering at the back!]. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across … Read more

#Euro2020: Professor McWilliams open letter from Northern Ireland to the Faroe Islands…

Having made a expression of interest in hosting Euro 2020, the FAI, SFA and WFA are not actually committed to bid and presumably won’t until they work out: 1, whether even together they can afford it; 2, whether they have even a pup’s chance of getting before spending a penny on any prospective campaign. Having noticed that the poor IFA has been once more jilted by its neighbours, Professor Billy McWilliams is trying to broker a rival bid for Northern … Read more

Northern Ireland soccer represents ‘British’ Northern Ireland, not, erm Northern Ireland

I’m not a fan of the rule change that means players who grow up in Northern Ireland rising through facilities paid for by the IFA now have the right to designate as FAI players at internatinonal level. Somehow the GFA got enrolled to convince FIFA that it was okay because of the Belfast Agreement. FIFA may have been convinced but the Oireachtas isn’t going anywhere near there re voting rights for ex pats never mind passport holders. But Ian Parsley … Read more

That’s the end of that

Back in July Chris noted the CAS dismissal of the IFA case over Daniel Kearns representing the Republic. At that point only a brief press release was available. As this finally ends any doubts on player eligibility and for completeness – here, at last, is the full CAS judgement and the arguments presented. Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

IFA: Court case for Irish, ‘understanding’ for English

One thing Slugger loves is a blog on football allegiances, so here you go… Today English teenager Adam Barton withdrew from the northern ireland football squad facing Italy and the Faroe Islands in the European qualifiers. Yesterday the north’s manager had declared: If players don’t want to represent Northern Ireland, it doesn’t matter how good or how bad they are, that’s up to them and good luck to them. It’s not a problem for Northern Ireland. “I focus on the … Read more