Majority of Irish people want the Republic and Northern Ireland to combine into All-Ireland football team
Sport

Majority of Irish people want the Republic and Northern Ireland to combine into All-Ireland football team

AROUND three-quarters of Irish people would like to see the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland unite to become one football team, according to new findings.

With the help of Amarách Research, a survey by RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live show found that 73 percent of fans would support a soccer team representing the entire island of Ireland.

Only 18 percent of the 1,000 Irish adults asked said they do not want the teams to merge, while nine percent were undecided.

A combined All-Ireland football team would mirror Ireland’s rugby team, which is comprised of players from all four provinces including Ulster.

The Republic and Northern Ireland have retained separate national soccer teams since partition in the 1920s.

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As it stands, players born in Northern Ireland can opt to represent the Republic of Ireland at international level – as Derry natives James McClean and Shane Duffy have done in recent years.

Northern Ireland will not be going to next year’s World Cup after they lost 1-0 on aggregate to Switzerland in controversial circumstances last night.

Meanwhile, the Republic face one of the biggest games in their history tonight in the second leg of their qualification play-off against Denmark.

With the first leg having finished 0-0, Martin O'Neill's men are sat firmly in the driving seat as they prepare for their Aviva Stadium showdown in Dublin.