Football

Here's The Last Irish Football International From Every County In The Country

Here's The Last Irish Football International From Every County In The Country

While the history of the Republic of Ireland team may be dominated by players from a select few counties, there has been a wide spread of players capped from throughout the island over the years.

28 of the 32 counties in Ireland have had players capped at senior level. Unfortunately, there's still nothing on the horizon from Offaly, Carlow, Tyrone, Leitrim.

If you know of any Irish (senior) internationals from any of these places, be sure to let us know and we will update.

For now, here is the most recent player from each county to make their debut for the Republic of Ireland.

Antrim - Marc Wilson

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Born in Aghagallon, Wilson played for Lisburn Boys in soccer and Gaelic football for his school St. Paul's in Lurgan, the school which Neil Lennon also attended.

The GAA website furnishes us with this detail:

They boast a number of famous past pupils such as Celtic manager Neil Lennon and current Irish soccer international Marc Wilson. Lennon captained the U14 school team in the 1985 Ulster championship while Wilson won a McDevitt Cup medal in 2001 and scored a goal in the final.

 

Armagh - Paddy Sloan

Paddy Sloan was one of four Northern players to feature in the Iberian double header in 1946.

Born in Lurgan, Sloan played in many countries including Malta and Italy. During his time in the latter, he played for Milan, Torino, Udinese and Brescia.

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Sloan played along with the Antrim trio of Jimmy McAlinden, Jackie Vernon and Billy MacMillan in the Iberian tour of '46, having all previously played for Northern Ireland. All three Antrim lads played for Belfast Celtic, with McAlinden and Vernon travelling south to play for Shamrock Rovers.

Ireland lost 3-1 in the opener to Portugal but then shocked Spain 1-0 the following week.

Cavan - Cillian Sheridan

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Bailleborough born Sheridan has proven there are more Irish soccer internationals from Cavan than there are hurlers (or sliotars probably).

Clare - Paddy Bermingham

A policeman, an Olympian, a ten-time national discus champion and Irish record holder in that event, he also played once for the Irish Free State soccer team in 1934.

He scored and everything as Ireland lost 4-2 to Hungary. Played club football for St. James's Gate. He was born in the town of Moyasta in Clare.

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Cork - Caoimhin Kelleher and Chiedozie Ogbene

There was a glut of recent debuts of Cork men for Ireland over the last few years. Conor Hourihane and John Egan both made their first appearance in a friendly against Iceland in 2017, while in our next match, in June that year, Burnley's Kevin Long and Preston's Alan Browne both debuted in an Irish loss to Mexico. Adam Idah had pride of place on this list most recently having made his debut against Bulgaria in 2020, but it didn't last too long.

Substitute appearances for both Caoimhin Kelleher and Chiedozie Ogbene in Ireland's last game against Hungary gives the two Rebel youngsters pride of place for now, even though Cork men don't tend to last too long before a new face comes along to topple them.

 

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Derry - Eunan O'Kane

It is now de riguer for Derry men to play for the Republic, with James McClean, Shane Duffy and Darron Gibson leading the way.

The most recent addition to the Irish team from the county is Eunan O'Kane, now of Leeds United. He won the first of his seven caps in a pre-Euro 2016 friendly against Switzerland.

 

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Donegal - Seamus Coleman

Donegal's strong football culture has produced many players down the years. Now the Irish captain, the Killybegs man might be the best of them all.

 

Down - John Feenan

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Born in Newry, he played for Newry Town and Belfast Celtic. Earned two caps for the Irish Free State, which then laid claim to the entire island.

Feenan holds a 100% record with Ireland, beating Switzerland 1-0 and then France 2-0 the following week.

Dublin - Gavin Bazunu

Irish international by county

The most recent of thousands, the Manchester City teenager made his debut in Ireland's disastrous World Cup Qualifier in Luxembourg. While the result will go down in infamy, the former Shamrock Rovers keeper performed well and more caps soon followed.

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Far more Dubliners have played for Ireland than have players from the rest of the country combined. Players don't tend to last very long on this list.

 

Fermanagh - Tommy Donnelly

The Enniskillen born forward played in the League of Ireland for both Drumcondra and Shamrock Rovers and won two Irish caps in 1937-38, scoring in the latter.

 

Galway - Ryan Manning

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Irish international by county

 

Ryan Manning became the latest player from the Connacht county to feature for Ireland at senior level when he made his debut against Bulgaria in the Nations League last year. He has since added three caps to his name, and the 24-year-old is becoming an established part of Stephen Kenny's squad.

It's a bit of a golden era for the county. Other Galway men Aaron Connolly, Daryl Horgan, David Forde, Alan Lee and Greg Cunningham have also played internationally since the turn of the century.

 

Kerry - Tony O'Connell

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Peter Byrne informs us that O'Connell is the only Kerry-born man to play for Ireland. O'Connell's accent however wouldn't lead one to suspect he was born in Tralee.

The current life President of Bohemians played for Shamrock Rovers, Dundalk and Bohs. He terrorised Jimmy Armfield down the right wing on the famous night the League of Ireland defeated the Football League in 1963.

He was the first person in the UK or Ireland to plaster sponsors on jerseys in the early 1970s, when the name of his company 'Jodi' was emblazoned across the Bohemians jerseys.

Intriguingly, he later involved himself with Northern side Crusaders, where his money helped them to two League titles in the middle of the 1990s.

Some Kerry people will tell you that Sheffield United's John Egan is the proper holder of this title. He made his debut in friendly against Iceland in 2017 and now has ten caps to his name.

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His father John is a Kerry Gaelic football legend and his mother also represented Kerry in Camogie. However, given John was born in Cork and grew up in Bishopstown, Tony O'Connell holds onto his title for another while anyway.

 

Kildare - Mark Travers

Irish international by county

Travers became the first Kildare man since 1971 to play for Ireland when he made his debut in the win over Bulgaria in the summer of 2019. He would win a second cap in the game against New Zealand a few months later.

The previous holder of this title was Mick Kearin.

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A lengthy League of Ireland career which took in spells at Bohemians, Shamrock Rovers and Athlone Town, Kearin earned his sole Ireland cap away to Austria in 1971. It was a chastening night as Ireland shipped a 6-0 defeat against their bogey team.

Kilkenny - Sean Maguire

Sean Maguire made his Ireland debut in the World Cup qualifier against Moldova in 2017, going on to earn 12 caps, scoring his first goal for his country against New Zealand in 2019.

Maguire replaced Matt O'Mahony of Mullinavat who had held his pace on the list since the 1930s.

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Laois - Tony Byrne

Stephen Hunt was born in Laois but is essentially a product of Waterford. Tony Byrne, by contrast, was born in Rathdowney, leaving for England as an eighteen year old.

He earned 14 caps for Ireland in the late 1960s and early 70s.

 

Limerick - Steve Finnan

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Despite his accent, Finnan was born in Limerick. The voice was shaped by Chelmsford, the town to which he moved at a young age. He is by no means the first Limerick man to play for Ireland.

 

Longford - Willie Browne

A student in St. Mel's, Browne began his career with Longford Town but ultimately became more associated with Bohemians.

Bohs were still resolutely amateur and the elegant central defender Browne was, for many years, the last amateur capped for Ireland. It was a title he might have expected to hold forever. He died in 2004, three years before Joe Lapira stole this mantle from him.

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He earned three caps for Ireland in 1963-64 against Austria, Spain and England, starring in particular in the 0-0 draw in Vienna.

He was at the heart of the defence the night the League of Ireland defeated the Football League. An accountant by profession, he also featured for the League of Ireland on an unhappier evening when they conceded eleven against the Scottish League.

This formed the basis of a story he told Peter Byrne later on.

He was walking down the street a week later and he met this Dublin fella coming up and he said 'Hey Willie, I know why you were selected for that team that played in Glasgow. You're an accountant by profession aren't you?' And Browne said, 'I am', He said 'the only reason they brought you to Glasgow was to count the goals going in against the Irish.

He was the SWAI Personality of the Year 1963. The Longford Town website even writes that the club adopted the red and black strip in response to Browne's association with Bohemians.

 

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Louth - Ian Harte

Irish international by county

The Dundalk-Drogheda duopoly in Louth has produced many Irish internationally down the years, most famously Steve Staunton.

 

Mayo - Ollie Conmy

Conmy and his family were forced to emigrate from his birthplace of Mulraney when he was eight. Played for Huddersfield Town and Peterborough United over the course of his career. Was signed by Bill Shankly at the former.

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He earned five caps for Ireland in the latter half of the 1960s.

110 cap Kevin Kilbane has strong family routes in Achill and is often seen at Mayo games these days, though he grew up in Preston.

 

Meath - Jamie McGrath

Irish international by county

Meath internationals, it turns out, are like buses. You wait a century for one to come along, and then two come together. Actually that's nothing like buses, but Darragh Lenihan became the first Meath man to represent Ireland at senior level when he made his debut against the USA in 2018, and just three years later, Athboy's Jamie McGrath earned his first cap, coming on in a friendly against Andorra.

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The St. Mirren midfielder will be hoping to add to his solo cap later on in 2021.

 

Monaghan - Jonathan Douglas

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The former Monaghan United player had a great career in England for over 15 years and was a regular in Steve Staunton Irish squads, earning the last of his 8 caps in 2007.

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Roscommon - Dinny Hannon

Hannon was born in Connaught Street in Athlone, a town which has produced a fair number of Irish internationals (at least until the 1970s). He captained the Irish Free State in their first ever international at the 1924 Olympics, in which they beat Bulgaria 1-0.

Hannon was a solicitor who played for both Bohemians and Athlone Town. The appropriately named 'Connaught Street', we are reliably informed, pokes its way into Roscommon.

We are open to correction on this, however.

Either way, Hannon served as the solicitor for Roscommon County Council in later life.

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Sligo - Paul McGee

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McGee played for about 10,000 clubs during his lengthy career. He flitted between Sligo Rovers and Galway United routinely, spending about five different spells at each.

He holds the Irish record for movement between clubs (34) and remains Galway United's highest ever scorer.

Scored four times in fifteen appearances for Ireland between 1978 and 1980.

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Tipperary - Shane Long

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Long scored 2-1 for Tipperary in the Munster Minor final of 2004, and featured in All-Ireland minor semi-finals against Galway and Kilkenny in 2003 and 2004.

He also has the small matter of 88 caps for his country, along with 17 goals.

 

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Waterford - Jayson Molumby

Irish international by county

After Cork and Dublin, the county that has possibly produced the most Irish soccer internationals.

Daryl Murphy, John O'Shea, and Derrick Williams, and Lee O'Connor are just some of the recent examples of players to emerge from the county, with Cappoquin's Jayson Molumby becoming the latest when making his debut last September against Finland.

Westmeath - Turlough O'Connor

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A member of a famous Athlone footballing family, O'Connor began his career with Athlone but enjoyed his best spell with the successful Bohemians team of the 1970s, scoring over one hundred goals and winning League titles in 1975 and 78.

Scored two goals in seven games in the late 60s and early 70s.

 

Wexford - Kevin Doyle

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Doyle would move back to his native county after retirement, even becoming involved for a time with the Wexford U20 Gaelic footballers.

Follows in the footsteps of another illustrious Wexford international, Bill Lacey, who played for Liverpool and Everton and featured on the first Ireland to win the British Championship in 1914.

 

Wicklow - Darren Randolph

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A Bray man, Randolph made his start with Ardmore Rovers before heading across the pond to join Charlton Athletic where he turned pro in 2004.

A basketball star at Pres Bray, he decided to focus on football after realising he would never make the NBA. We think it worked out pretty well.

 

SEE ALSO: Which Irish County Would Have The Best Five-A-Side Team?

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