The Republic of Ireland have been blessed with some terrific footballers over the decades, many of whom have earned iconic status with their heroics at World Cups and European Championships.

But what of the talented players who never got the chance to grace a major finals, through ill luck, injury, or unfortunate timing?

We're asking you to help us choose a Republic of Ireland XI made up of the best players we've had who never played at a major international tournament. 

We've put together the shortlist of goalkeepers, full-backs, wingers, and centre-midfielders. Today, we look at the final third of the team - the strikers. If you think we have omitted anyone, please contact us at

Before Robbie Keane, Niall Quinn, John Aldridge and Frank Stapleton, we had Don Givens, a natural poacher who carried the burden of sniffing out goals for his country throughout a frustrating decade.

Givens made his debut against Denmark in Copenhagen in May 1969, quickly establishing himself in an Ireland team that had a lot of talent but struggled for consistency.

He was at Manchester United when he first came on to the international scene, moving to Luton Town in 1970 and QPR two years later, where he enjoyed the best spell of his career.

Givens - a robust player with good mobility - was at the peak of his powers when he scored a memorable hat-trick in Ireland's 3-0 defeat of the USSR in 1974. That was the game Liam Brady made his Ireland debut.

In the same qualification campaign for the 1976 European Championships, Givens scored all four in a 4-0 hammering of Turkey but Ireland fell short of getting to the finals.

By the time Givens walked away from the international stage he was his country's record goalscorer with 19. It would stand until 1990, when Stapleton got to 20.  

Liam Whelan was one of the Busby Babes who tragically lost his life in the 1958 Munich Air Disaster. He was just 22 years old when he died, having played only four times for his country.

Born in Cabra, Whelan's immense ability was honed at Dublin nursery Home Farm. Manchester United brought him across the water for a trial and after Whelan excelled in an FA Youth Cup clash against Wolves, they snapped him up.

Tall, slim and deceptively quick, Whelan won two league titles at Old Trafford.

He would have continued to pick up silverware in that brilliant team had tragedy not struck. A glittering career for club and country was cruelly cut short.     

Jimmy Dunne had a phenomenal scoring rate for the Republic of Ireland. He netted 13 times in 15 games for the FAI team, and also represented the IFA XI, bagging four goals in seven appearances, .

The Dubliner started and finished his career at Shamrock Rovers, making his name in England with New Brighton and then Sheffield United, where he scored 39 goals in a single season. Arsenal signed him in 1933 and he won a league title in his maiden campaign there.

Dunne moved on to Southampton in 1936 before returning to the Hoops as player-manager.


Sadly, Michael Robinson passed away aged 61 last Tuesday after a battle with cancer.

Robinson impressed at Preston and Brighton before earning a dream move to Liverpool in 1983. He left with a league title and a European Cup medal in his pocket, heading on to QPR and then Osasuna.

In Spain he carved out a fine career as a broadcaster of huge esteem. 

His impact with Ireland career was limited to 24 caps, Robinson's high point coming in the 1981 World Cup qualifier against France, when he scored the third goal in a brilliant 3-2 win. 

He was part of the squad that won the Iceland Triangular Tournament under Jack Charlton in 1986 but Robinson - a strong and direct attacker - never figured again under Big Jack after he moved to Spain in January '87.

Paddy Moore scored on his debut against Spain in 1931 in front of 100,000 fans at Estadio de Montjuic in Barcelona, helping Ireland gain a 1-1 draw against Spain.

He got all four goals in a 4-4 draw with Belgium in a World Cup qualifier at Dalymount in 1934 - a feat Givens would match over 30 years later. Moore also netted against Holland in a a 5-2 loss that deprived Ireland of qualification for the 1934 World Cup in Italy.

In an era when Ireland played very few games Moore won just nine caps and bagged seven goals. Moore had four different spells at Shamrock Rovers, where he was revered. He was just 41 when he died.


Ray Treacy played 42 times in a 13-year spell between 1966 and 1979. He was one of a batch of Irishmen to link up with John Giles at West Brom in the mid-70s after Giles became player-manager at the Baggies but Treacy first made his name at Charlton, where he enjoyed a fruitful spell from 1967 until 1972.

His prowess in the air was all the more impressive given his diminutive stature - Treacy was 5'9" but he had a tremendous spring which made him an unlikely threat from crosses.

He won the FAI Cup with Shamrock Rovers in 1978 after he'd again been signed by Giles and he later led the Hoops to the league title as manager in 1994.

Clinton Morrison returned nine goals in 36 appearances - that's a strike rate of a goal every four games, not bad for a player who has since admitted he felt "lucky" just to get a call-up.

Mick McCarthy brought him to the 2002 World Cup off the back of a good season in the Championship with Crystal Palace but Morrison never got off the bench in South Korea and Japan, the manager turning to David Connolly instead in the last-16 showdown with Spain when a jaded Irish team needed fresh legs.

By 2006, Morrison was out in the cold. He figured prominently during Brian Kerr's time at the helm but Steve Staunton was less keen on his abilities and consistently overlooked the attacker.

Liam Tuohy has the distinction of scoring Ireland's first goal in the history of the European Championships competition in a Dalymount Park clash with Czechoslovakia in April 1959. 

He played outside left and was part of the brilliant Shamrock Rovers team that won six FAI Cups in a row in  the 1960s. Tuohy had left Rovers in 1960 to join Newcastle United but returned to the Hoops three years later.  

Tuohy managed Ireland form 1971 to 193. When he died in 2016, Paddy Mulligan said: "He has a magnificent place in the history of Irish football both as a player and a manager. We'll never see his like again."


Selections: Don Givens and Liam Whelan