Collectors Club: My Republic of Ireland Football Shirt Collection

 

Eddie lives in Dublin and has over 160 different shirts/exhibits from Irish International football history including historic boots, gloves, goalkeeper shirts, tournament suits and tracksuits and all in between.

How did the Irish Football Museum start?

I tried to find an Irish football museum in Ireland and discovered there sadly wasn’t one dedicated to the Irish Football Team so I decided then to try and create the Museum myself. 15 years later and I have collected nearly all of the key moments from Irish International history.

The main focus of the Museum is to promote debate and discussion in Ireland to build a dedicated fit for purpose Museum to the Irish International Team in this country to preserve OUR history in OUR country for future generations of fans to appreciate and be inspired by.

What was the first shirt in your collection?

My first Ireland shirt was purchased for me in 1983 by my very patient mother when I was 5 years old. It was an O Neills green replica full kit and I wore it the way kids wear a Superman costume and believe they can fly!! I was hooked on being an Ireland fan and that started the obsession. Ray Houghton’s goal v England in 1988 was the first time I was actually aware I was alive it was a huge moment for a 9 year old boy. I lost my heart to Ray and the Irish team that day. I’m not lucky enough to find Ray’s shirt but I have Liam O Brien’s from this tournament.

My first players shirt was given to me by Stephen Reid in the bar of the New Otani Hotel in Chiba City in Japan in 2002. As a 22 year old I travelled on my own to Japan/Korea for the World Cup. After we drew with Germany there was an Irish “session” in the team hotel with fans/players/management. A long loud drunken night followed and I actually gave Stephen Reid my Glasgow Celtic shirt that I was wearing at the time. As the session finished Reid asked me to hang on and went to his room and came back with his Irish shirt for me.

Which is your favourite shirt?

My favourite shirt (its a bit like asking a parent who their favourite child is!!) is Richard Dunne’s iconic Ireland white “Marker” shirt v Russia in 2011. It probably doubles as my rarest shirt also as it is one of the few football shirts ever to be “made” live in the middle of the game.

After suffering a blood injury, Dunne came back onto the field wearing a shirt without a number, as per FIFA rules. The referee sent him off again to get a number on the shirt. Famously Alan Kelly Junior, the Irish goalkeeping coach “drew” the number 5 onto both the front and back of the shirt and Dunne went back on. His performance that day was one of the best that any Irish player has ever given and his shirt matched that iconic stature. I have built a full length display cabinet in my house that displays Dunne’s entire Russian kit (boots,socks,shorts,shirt) and the match ball and match tickets/programme from the game as it is a shirt and a performance that deserves it!!

The Museum is dedicated to the memory of James Nolan a young Irish fan who tragically passed away in Poland at Euro 2012 whilst supporting the Irish team. Hopefully an Irish Museum would keep his name alive.

The website/Museum project is a NOT FOR PROFIT project and has no official sponsor/support. It is a Labour of Love.

View all of Eddie’s collection at IRELANDSOCCERSHIRTS.COM

Shop classic and clearance Republic of Ireland National Team shirts here