Martin O'Neill's Irish side could go head to head with Northern Ireland before both sides kick off their Euro 2016 campaign next year. The Belfast Telegraph are reporting that a showpiece friendly between the sides could be scheduled for a revamped Windsor Park next year as hype grows for the first ever major tournament in which both the Republic and the North will be taking part.
The FAI have already said that the friendly against the Netherlands on May 27th will be the final home game before the team kick off against Sweden in the Stade de France on June 13th. However, that does leave open the possibility of another away friendly in which to fine tune preparations. A game in Windsor Park would certainly fill that space for both sides.
What's less convivial is the prospect of a joint reception for both teams being held in Belfast, presumably to coincide with this friendly (if it is to go ahead). Friendly or no friendly, a proposal for a joint reception has been causing quite a debate between the various sides in Belfast City Council.
While Dublin has already approved such a motion, there has been some strenuous opposition to the idea in Belfast with a defining vote to take place tomorrow. A number of unionists are very much against the idea and things have been help up considerably.
Declan Boyle, the SDLP councillor who first proposed the motion has said that Belfast would be sending an 'embarrassingly backward message' if the proposal for the joint reception is defeated. Boyle has pointed out that there is nothing threatening about the proposal.
We should be celebrating this wonderful and unique achievement, not continuing a petty political squabble.
A joint reception in Belfast may not be going down well with all sides but one way or another, the friendly in Windsor Park would be an interesting final send off before Euro 2016.