In advance of Wednesday’s massive game against England at Wembley, which is being shown live on Setanta Ireland, we are starting the build up, bringing you back to that infamous night and plotting the key storylines that makes May 29th, one of the biggest nights of the sporting calendar.
These are the ones that slipped way, a team of the best players who traded the chance to become national heroes if they had pursued their Irish ancestry for a career of relative mediocrity and recriminations with England.
Joe Corrigan only won nine caps for England despite seventeen years of outstanding service with Manchester City with Corrigan unlucky to playing in the same era as Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence. Corrigan gets the nod to play behind one of the more solid back fours you are likely to find.
Despite alternatives such as Kieran Richardson, this team is playing a Stoke City style four centre-halves across the backline with Gary Cahill and Rio Ferdinad both having the pace to play at full back. Martin Keown and Steve Bruce would form a bruising centre-back partnership that would strike fear into the hearts of forwards throughout the international game.
The two Pauls in central midfield would put the theory that 'opposites attract' to the test. We would hope the quiet Salford lad and the enigmatic Geordie would combine to form a potent combination brimming with skill and technique. If he had played for Ireland, Scholes would also never have to worry about being shunted to the wing to accommodate David Beckham in the 'quarterback' role.
Wayne Rooney would undoubtedly be more suited by the less intrusive media Irish media where he could buy packets of cigarettes for 200 euro to his heart's content on international breaks.
Jimmy Greaves and Kevin Keegan provide a lethal strike partnership up front. Greaves had an outstanding goalscoring record for Spurs, scoring 220 goals from just 321 matches and would have avoided suffering the heartache of losing his place to Geoff Hurst through injury in the 1966 World Cup had he played for Ireland.
Keegan would double up as an old style player-manager. While he had a fairly disastrous spell in charge of England, that shouldn't overshadow an otherwise excellent body of work at Newcastle, Fulham at to a lesser extent Manchester City. This team would also be suited to his swashbuckling attacking style of football.