Two Northern Ireland football legends have thrown their weight behind the establishment of an all-Ireland team.
Record cap holder Pat Jennings and Martin O'Neill were speaking at an event in Dublin to mark the last time a united Irish side took to the field.
In 1973 a 'Shamrock Rovers XI' took on world champions Brazil, who included 1970 World Cup heroes Rivelino and Jairzinho, in Dublin.
Aston Villa manager O'Neill said that given the current politicial climate, such a merger was now a "possibility" adding that had the great Northern Ireland side of 1982 included a sprinkling of Republic players, the team would have been "phenomenal".
However, the Kilrea man added: "I don't know even at this stage if everyone would want it to happen.
"From the playing viewpoint, you can imagine the possibilities. For instance, Northern Ireland went on to the 1982 World Cup and we actually played in the quarter-finals.
"And can you imagine what our side would have been like then if it had included Frank Stapleton and Liam Brady? We would have been phenomenal."
Jennings and O'Neill are the latest high-profile figures to speak out in favour of a united Irish team.
The province's most famous son, the late, great George Best said he believed that by pooling resources Ireland could have a team capable of challenging on the international stage.
" At any given time, both the Republic and Northern Ireland have had some great, world-class players," said Best.
" I just believe in trying something. If it doesn't work, at least you've tried it."
The Irish Football Association (IFA) was established in November 1880, making it the fourth oldest football governing body in the world behind the other three home nations.
Based in Belfast, the IFA continued to pick players from across the whole of the island in spite of partition in 1921.
In 1950 rules were drawn up by FIFA to limit the number of players born in the Republic and playing for Northern Ireland and vice-versa.
Jennings, who turned out 119 times for Northern Ireland, said an all-Ireland team would have a better chance of qualifying for major competitions.
"You would have a better squad," he said.
"If you have one or two injuries in key positions, none of us, north or south, could cope with that at the moment.
"It's the bureaucracy involved in changing things that has always been the problem, and it's a measure of the opposition there was to the (1973) fixture from the IFA that the team had to play under the guise of a Shamrock Rovers XI."
The game against Brazil at Lansdowne Road was organised by Northern Ireland and Wolves striker Derek Dougan, who never played for his country afterwards.
The Shamrock Rovers XI included O'Neill and Jennings as well as former NI manager Bryan Hamilton and John Giles and Don Givens from the Republic.