Despite being a small island, no shortage of fantastic footballers have been produced in Ireland over the years. We recently put together a team of the best Republic of Ireland players who never played at a major tournament to drive home that fact.
Picking an All-Ireland XI, consisting of players from both Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, is an even tougher task.
That's what Eamon Dunphy, John Giles, and Liam Brady attempted to do on Dunphy's The Stand podcast.
Each of them selected their own teams and they are all fantastic sides. It is worth noting that Brady and Giles did not include themselves in their own teams.
Five players make all three teams, with Pat Jennings, Denis Irwin, Paul McGrath, Roy Keane, and George Best all ever-presents.
there are a few notable absentees. Robbie Keane, the highest international goalscorer from either nations is not selected in any of the sides.
Here's what they selected:
Ep 723: Best All-Ireland Soccer Team.
Eamon, John, and Liam pick their all-time, all-island Ireland XIs. Great memories of some really great players, from both sides of the border. Who got left out?
The Stand is proudly sponsored by @TescoIrl. pic.twitter.com/QxUZ0zcv5a
— Dunphy_Official (@Dunphy_Official) April 30, 2020
Speaking about George Best, who he said was unmatched in some of the things that he could do with the ball, John Giles believes he wasn't protected enough away from the pitch in his playing days.
I have a great deal of sympathy for George. I didn't know him very well, but I have a great deal of sympathy for him.
There was nobody to look after him. Nowadays when the kids go away, they're in their hostel and they're looked after. George was left on his own.
At that time Matt Busby was an old fashioned manager, a great manager, but was old fashioned. In his day Tom Finney and Stanley Matthews were the heroes of the game.
George Best came along at the time of The Beatles. Matt didn't understand that.
He needed protection. He was in digs, the same as everybody else. People could come knocking on his door. He had no protection at that time.
I have a great deal of sympathy for George Best in the way he finished up, which was tragic.
You can listen to the full podcast here.