Who’s your granny? Ireland's greatest soccer imports

Who’s your granny? Ireland's greatest soccer imports

By Robert McNamara

The Republic of Ireland travel across the water to take on Scotland in a crucial European championship qualifier this Friday.

Considering the sectarian elements in Scotland's support base, the game will be feisty enough. However, the atmosphere has been ramped up considerably by a ticket stand-off between the FAI and Scottish FA.

If all that wan't enough, ex-Scottish international Gordon McQueen has fanned the flames even further with some really provocative remarks about Scottish born players representing Ireland.

“I hate that (Scottish players representing Ireland). I’ve got no time for these players,” said McQueen.

“You’re born in Glasgow but then you go and play for somebody else? What’s that all about? I’m not having that at all.

“Will it be hard for them coming back here with Ireland? I really hope so. I hope they get a horrible reception because they deserve it. I’m sure somebody must have asked them to play for Scotland at some stage.

“You’re either Scottish or you’re not Scottish and you should know that by the time you’re 12 years of age."

McQueen's remarks are even more remarkable considering that Ireland taking advantage of the so-called 'granny rule' is hardly a new phenomena - and Scotland use it too with several of their internationals having been born south of the border in England.

To remind the former Leeds and Manchester United centre-back, we've compiled a list of the best non-Irish born Irish internationals not in the current squad.

Mark Lawrenson

Who’s your granny? Ireland's greatest soccer imports

Before he was a purveyor of bland football analysis and terrible shirts on Match of the Day, Mark Lawrenson was a really good centre-half/holding midfielder in a glittering club career with Liverpool's dominant '80s side.

Born in Penwortham, Lancashire, Lawrenson made 39 appearances for Ireland and scored the winner in a vital 1-0 Euro qualifier win against Scotland in 1987. A ruptured Achilles ruled Lawrenson out of Euro 88, considerably weakening Ireland in the process but not dimming his status as one of Ireland's best ever defenders.

John Aldridge

Who’s your granny? Ireland's greatest soccer imports

A Liverpudlian with a real nose for goal. He led the line for Ireland on 69 occasions and scored hat-tricks against Latvia and Turkey.

He will be most fondly remembered though for his argument with match officials at the 1994 World Cup when trying to get on as a substitute against Mexico. G'wan Aldo!

Mick McCarthy

Who’s your granny? Ireland's greatest soccer imports

Let's not mention Saipan here, okay?

Born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, McCarthy captained Ireland at the 1990 World Cup and was probably the team's best performer in the tournament. He then led Ireland to the 2002 World Cup as manager.

Roy Keane might not like him but Mick was a great servant to Irish football.

Ray Houghton

Who’s your granny? Ireland's greatest soccer imports

Ray Houghton is solely repsonsible for two of the greatest ever moments in Irish sporting history; his wondrous, physics defying header against England at Euro '88 and his sumptuous lob over Gianluca Pagliuca's head at USA '94.

Born in Glasgow, Houghton has always maintained that the Scottish FA showed little interest in him as a youngster, leading him to tog out for the homeland of his father and boy, are we happy he did.

Kevin Kilbane

Who’s your granny? Ireland's greatest soccer imports

An unspectacular inclusion but 110 appearances for Ireland, 66 of them consecutively, says it all. A great ambassador for Irish football who never let the side down and played at the 2002 World Cup.

Kevin Sheedy

Who’s your granny? Ireland's greatest soccer imports

Born in Wales, Sheedy's father was from Co Clare.

The Everton legend played 46 times for Ireland and the highlight came when he cancelled out Gary Lineker's opener for England in the Italia '90 group clash with a beautiful left-footed daisy cutter.

Shay Brennan

He made just 19 appearances for Ireland but Shay Brennan makes the list because he was the first second generation Irishman to be capped by Ireland in 1965.

The Manchester United legend won the European Cup in 1968 and was buried in his adopted town of Tramore, Co. Waterford in 2000.

Honourable mentions

Paul McGrath: Born in London, but grew up in Ireland and has an Irish accent. McGrath is an absolute bona fide Irish legend and would push Roy Keane for our greatest ever player.

However, he only gets an honourable mention here due to being raised in the country.

Andy Townsend: He might be the most annoying co-commentator on English television at the moment but Townsend was a solid midfielder in the mid to late Jack Charlton era.

Jason McAteer: Because of the goal against the Dutch in 2001 and his many 'Trigger' moments.

Tony Cascarino: Turns out he wan't even eligible to play for Ireland but got 19 goals in 88 appearances, so we don't mind!

David O'Leary: Not a lot of people are aware that the man much ignored by Jack Charlton was born in Stoke, but raised in Dublin. His penalty in the shoot-out against Romania practically kick started the Celtic Tiger era.

Chris Hughton: A solid full-back, born in London but with family in Ireland. He won 53 caps, scored at Euro '88 and played in all three games.

Who would you add to the list?

More in this Section

Player ratings from Ireland's Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeatPlayer ratings from Ireland's Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat

Twitter: Tributes paid to Schmidt and Best after Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeatTwitter: Tributes paid to Schmidt and Best after Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat

Emotional end for retiring Ireland skipper Best after All Blacks beatingEmotional end for retiring Ireland skipper Best after All Blacks beating

Eddie O'Sullivan: 'This was an absolute tonking'Eddie O'Sullivan: 'This was an absolute tonking'


Lifestyle

These are the nail hues to choose this season, says Katie Wright.Perfectly polished: 5 autumn/winter nail trends you’ll actually want to wear

This early 19th-century table is one of a number of Irish lots at Sotheby’s Style, Furniture and Ceramics sale in New York on Thursday (October 24).Irish lots poised to add bite to Big Apple sale

Something for all at Hegarty’s auction in Bandon, says Des O’SullivanSomething for all at Hegarty’s auction in Bandon

Des O’Sullivan gives a preview of the Irish selection on offer at two sales in DublinPreview of the Irish selection on offer at two sales in Dublin

More From The Irish Examiner