The Magnificent Seven: Famous Irish victories over England

Beating England in sport has always felt extra sweet for the average Irish supporter. Here are seven of those memorable occasions…

WITH THE BIG Six Nations game coming up this weekend, we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane and recall past famous Irish wins over England.

So here they are, in no particular order:

1. Ireland 1-0 England (Euro 88)

The game that guaranteed Ray Houghton a lifetime of punditry for RTÉ, Jack Charlton’s side were the clear underdogs going into the fixture, but subsequently shocked Europe thanks to an early Houghton header – and to an equal extent, Packie Bonner’s fine goalkeeping. Let’s hope Giovanni Trapattoni’s equally unfancied side can cause a similar upset this summer.

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2. Ireland 43-13 England (Six Nations 2007)

Ireland provided the perfect performance for the occasion, as England were outplayed in every area of the field by a side that had the likes of Paul O’Connell and Brian O’Driscoll at their peak. Perhaps the most memorable day of Eddie O’Sullivan’s reign as coach, Ireland ultimately won comfortably, with some GAA skills from Shane Horgan to boot.

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3. Steve Collins beats Chris Eubank (WBO Super Middleweight Championship 1995)

Despite having the odds stacked against him, Collins beat Eubank not once, but twice, winning and retaining the WBO Super Middleweight Championship in the process. The second fight also acquired a degree of notoriety, after Collins claimed he would be hypnotised for its duration. The Irish boxer even refused to acknowledge Eubank’s entrance into the ring, preferring to listen to headphones and remain oblivious to his opponent until the fight began.

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4. Ireland beat England in cricket (Cricket World Cup 2011)

Of all the moments listed here, this was arguably the most shocking. Ireland’s team of journeymen weren’t given a chance against their esteemed English counterparts, but they consequently did the unthinkable and won, largely thanks to Kevin O’Brien’s heroics. The batsman hit the fastest hundred in World Cup history to inspire a famous victory for his side.

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5. Ireland 20-14 England (Six Nations 2001)

What made this victory especially impressive was that it came at the expense of a genuinely great English side, featuring the likes of Richard Hill and Jonny Wilkinson (in his prime). Two moments from the game standout – Keith Wood collecting the ball from the lineout and driving over the line like a man possessed, and Peter Stringer’s wonderful, match-saving tap tackle on Dan Luger, which encapsulated the mixture of spirit and skill that defined this victory.

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6. Ireland 2-1 England (international match 1913)

Despite being relatively new to the world of football, Ireland still managed to gain this noteworthy victory over the inventors of the game – a remarkable achievement, especially given the incredibly limited pool of players to choose from, with many Irishmen opting to boycott the sport in favour of GAA. Moreover, this game – along with the majority of internationals at the time – was played in Belfast, while few players from the south were selected for their country, even though they were eligible.

(A united Ireland team played together until 1950)

7. Dennis Taylor v Steve Davis, World Snooker Championship 1985

Another famous victory that looked highly unlikely at one stage, Taylor initially found himself 8-0 down against the then-world number one. However, his inspired performance thereafter ensured a thrilling conclusion, encompassing a famous black ball finale, during which the Tyrone man triumphed in the most dramatic of circumstances.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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