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Unity could be pitch perfect

It's NOW 123 years since Ireland won its first soccer international. The victorious team defeated Wales at Oldpark Avenue, Belfast.

Back then there was only one team in Ireland. Fast forward to the present day. The unity which brought that triumph has been replaced with animosity as Ireland's soccer fraternity remains divided.

The successes on the rugby field by an all-Ireland side indicate what is possible if we pool our resources. Imagine what a Healy-Keane partnership could have achieved some years ago? The time is right when, in the interests of local soccer, the two governing bodies on the island come together and agree to work towards the creation of one Ireland team, capable of scoring achievements on the pitch.

PAUL BUTLER (SF)

MLA for Lagan Valley

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