"George Best was always calling for an all-Ireland team"

Author Cormac Moore talks to Off The Ball about the FAI-IFA split and its aftermath

BY Raf Diallo 22:07 Wednesday 26 August 2015, 22:07 26 Aug 2015

Peter Robinson / EMPICS Sport

It's now 94 years since the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) was formed in the wake of disputes with the Belfast-based Irish Football Association (IFA) which today administers soccer north of the border.

The split between both football associations is the subject of a book by author Cormac Moore called The Irish Soccer Split, and tonight he joined us on Off The Ball to detail the fascinating events that led to the split as well as its consequences. 

As he explained there had been periodical talks to potentially unite the FAI and IFA again in order to create a united Ireland team, as recently as the '70s and '80s. 

"There was genuine desire on both sides it seemed to have one all-Ireland international team. Most of the players wanted it," said Moore.

"George Best was always calling for an all-Ireland team, Pat Jennings would have liked it as well, Derek Dougan was probably the most vociferous in his claims in the fight for an international team for the whole island. But the administrators in the IFA were always seen as the guys who didn't want this and evidence would suggest otherwise. They were very open to have those discussions. In fact, Harry Cavan, the then president of the IFA said 'it was nonsensical having two international teams from this small island.'"

Moore explained how the violence of The Troubles and incidents like the riot by Linfield fans against Dundalk in '79 affected the prospect of those talks being successful.

You can listen to the full interview via the Off The Ball Football Show podcast. 

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