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Why do n Ireland unionist play for an all Ireland rugby team?

Answers:1   |   LastAnswerAt:2011.05  

Asked at 2011.05.05 00:25:47

answer blm  Answered at 2011.05.05 00:25:47
Simply because when that part of Ireland which made up the Irish Free State (later the Irish Republic, or Eire) separated from the United Kingdom in 1922, the board of the Irish Rugby Football Union agreed to maintain a unified status. This means that they control all rugby players on the entire island, regardless of whether they originate in the Republic, or the six northern UK counties. It wasn't the only choice they could have made -- the Irish Football Association, for example, did split into IFS and UK factions, which is why the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland now field separate international soccer squads.

It seems to have worked out for Irish rugby fans, as Ireland has a much bigger status in international rugby than than it does in international soccer.

This is going to be an issue in the 2016 Olympics, when Irish players are going to have to choose between the Irish Republic and the United Kingdom for the Olympic seven's squads.
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