As soccer fan's focus turns toward the Russia World Cup Magners Irish Cider takes a look back at Ireland’s ‘football’ history.

This week, the attention of sports fans across the globe will be turning to Russia, as the world’s top soccer talent kicks off in pursuit of international glory!  We will be watching anxiously (with a Magners in hand, of course!) to see who comes out on top, emerging through the steep competition to victory. With the lack of Irish involvement in this year’s tournament, let's take a look back at Ireland’s ‘football’ history!

For generations, football has been Ireland’s most played and celebrated sport, dating back to its humble beginnings in the late 1800’s. John McAlery, who has been regarded as the father of Irish football, was the first man to capitalize on the opportunity to bring organized football to the Irish sports scene, joining the popular games of cricket, Gaelic football, and rugby. After observing the foreign sport during a visit to Scotland in 1878, he invited two Scottish teams to participate in an exhibition match at Ireland’s Ulster Cricket Ground in Ballymafeigh. This effort was met with great response from the Irish people and culminated in the forming of the Irish Football Association on November 18th, 1880 in Belfast, with McAleary as honorary secretary. Check out our Brand Ambassador, Luke’s perspective on Irish Football History in this video:

Since then, Ireland has contributed its natural born talent to several leagues and competitions, including Johnny Giles, who led Leeds United to an FA Cup victory against Arsenal in 1972, George Best, the famed Manchester United winger and arguably the best footballer of all time, and most recently Robby Keane, who made a name for himself with Tottenham in the Premier League before bringing his talents stateside for the MLS’s LA Galaxy.

Ireland has a lengthy history of involvement in the FIFA World Cup tournament, having made the tournament three times in the past 30 years. Every four years, 32 international teams qualify for the competition, earning the chance to play against the best football talent in the world. After advancing to the Quarter Finals in 1990, Ireland again qualified for the contest in 1994 and 2002, advancing to the round of 16 both times. With the likes of Robby Keane, Niall Quinn, and John Aldridge having represented Ireland in the World Cup, the team has long been regarded as a contender on the international level. Their competence has also extended into the UEFA European Championship, another quadrennial international football competition, where Ireland has made several appearances, including the 1988, 2012, and 2016 finals.

Ireland’s recent involvement in international football has led to heartbreak and disappointment for its fans, as the Boys in Green will not be making an appearance in Russia this month at the 21st FIFA World Cup Championship. However, this year’s World Cup qualifications are extremely notable, with formidable teams such as Holland, the USA, and Italy joining Ireland on the list of big misses. While their plans of hitting the pitch this summer didn’t come to fruition, Ireland has historically been supported by its dedicated fan base. Throughout the national team’s good and bad moments, the Ireland fans have been known to be an extremely dedicated group, showing unwavering commitment for their team, no matter the results.

The luck of the Irish never gives up hope for the next World Cup, as Ireland fans will be watching the competition from the comfort of our own pubs this year. In the meantime, we’ll stick to what we know we’re good at, just ask Luke! :

As you prepare to watch from home or your favorite pub, #RaiseOne with Magners! We have the perfect drink to help ease an Ireland fan’s pain and enjoy the tournament!

Clonmel Kick recipe

Clonmel Kick recipe made with Magners Irish Cider.

Clonmel Kick recipe made with Magners Irish Cider.


- 3 Parts Magners Original

- ¾ Part Irish Whiskey

- Splash Sour Mix


- Add whisky and sour mix to cocktail shaker with ice.

- Pour over ice and top with Magners Irish Cider.


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