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Ireland’s 1990 World Cup Heroes – Where Are They Now?

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Last week we looked at Jackie’s Army at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. It was a time of great heroism for Jackie’s army but as the years have passed, time has forgotten the contribution of these great men. Today we honour their achievements by looking at the great squad and where they are today.

Starting XI

Packie Bonner

Bonner cemented his place in Irish hearts during the second-round of the World Cup when he saved A Daniel Timofte penalty to put Ireland into the Quarter Finals.

Donegal continued to serve Irish football for a number of years, only retiring in 1996 with a formidable 80 caps. Since then Packie has worked as a technical director for the FAI and more recently he has worked as a pundit for International Games.


Chris Morris

Morris has the distinction of being the only Irish player booked in Ireland’s 1-1 draw with England at the World Cup. In an international career that spanned six years, Morris earned 35 caps for the Republic and retired from the game in 1997 at Middlesbrough.

Since then Morris has gone back to Cornwall where he works for the family business selling Morris Cornish Pasties. He has also coached for the local college football team.


Mick McCarthy

‘Captain Fantastic’ or Mick as he was more commonly known was the leader of the team in 1990. His time with the Republic would not last much longer after Italia ’90 as Mick called it a day in 1992.

Since then he has achieved great successes managing the Republic in the Japan/South Korea World Cup in 2002 (Roy Keane escapade withstanding!) and has been manager of Ipswich Town since 2012.

McCarthy also has a cult following online leading to popular videos such as this one:


Kevin Moran

Alongside Captain Fantastic was Kevin Moran. 1990 was to prove an eventful summer for the man from Dublin as he joined Blackburn Rovers that year. He was named in the 1994 squad for the World Cup in America but injury meant he didn’t play a game. He retired in 94 with a total of 71 caps.

Since then Moran has formed a football agency named Proactive Sports Management with Paul Stretford and Jesper Olsen. Occasionally he also works as a pundit.


Steve Staunton

Stan the Man is the only player to have played in all 13 of Ireland’s World Cup games from 1990 to and 2002. Following Ireland’s penalty shootout loss to Spain in South Korea, Staunton hung up his boots.

He quickly returned to the Ireland set up however, replacing Brian Kerr as Manager of the Republic in 2006. His time however was short lived. Six wins in seventeen games saw Stan dismissed in 2007.

A short managerial stint with Darlington was soon followed up by a scouting position at Sunderland. Sadly for Staunton a budget cut at the Stadium of Light meant he was dismissed from Sunderland in 2013.


Ray Houghton

One of the most influential members of Jackie’s army and the scorer of some of Ireland’s most memorable goals (amongst them winners against England in Euro 88 and Italy in USA 94), Houghton was a key component in Ireland’s hard-working and often overlooked midfield.

Following a World Cup ‘98 play-off defeat to Belgium, Ray retired from international football with a total of 73 caps for the Boys in Green. Nowadays he plys his trade as a football pundit for a number of media outlets.


Paul McGrath

“Ooh aa Paul McGrath”.

Words can’t describe the love Irish fans feel for this man. Arguably one of the finest players to ever pull on an Irish jersey, Paul was an anchor in Ireland’s midfield during Italia ’90 and would be at the heart of the Irish defence four years later at the 1994 World Cup.

Off the field the great man has struggled with alcohol issues, particularly in his post-retirement but he has remained very influential in charity and fund-raising activities and is by all accounts an inspirational figure.

He is also an avid Tweeter and often takes to social media to provide articulate insights into the footballing world.


Andy Townsend

Born in England but loved in Ireland, Andy Townsend first turned out for the Boys in Green in 1989 and would later go on to captain the Republic in USA 94. He retired in 1997 with a total of 70 caps for his adopted homeland. Townsend was central to Big Jack’s “put ‘em under pressure” tactics.

Now works as a pundit on TV and Radio.


Kevin Sheedy

Sheedy’s contribution at Italia ’90 is best summed up by his performance against England in the group stages. As the Republic looked set for a 1-0 defeat, Sheedy popped up with little over fifteen minutes remaining to score Ireland’s equaliser and earn the Republic a much needed point. In a nine-year career with the Boys in Green, Sheedy notched 46 caps.

Amassing over 314 appearances for Everton, Sheedy rejoined the Toffees as Academy coach in 2006.


John Aldridge

In ten years with Ireland, Aldridge notched 19 goals, it was a small return for a man of his ability but it is often forgotten that Aldridge played a supporting role in Ireland’s frontline. At Italia ’90 John was substituted in all of the Republic’s matches and had a goal disallowed against Holland.

In his post-Ireland career, Aldridge managed Tranmere Rovers for five years, famously leading the club to successive FA Cup quarter-finals. He resigned in 2001 and since then he has worked as football pundit, notably for LFC TV.

Here he is scoring a sensational overhead kick for his beloved Tranmere.


Tony Cascarino

Like John Aldridge, Cascarino also notched 19 goals in an Irish career that spanned 14 years and only ended in 2000. Since retirement he has spent his time as a semi-professional poker player and a pundit for TalkSport, Today FM, and Sky Sports.

It has also transpired that Cascarino may not have any Irish blood in him. Ah well.



Alan McLoughlin

McLoughlin made his début in 1990 and is perhaps best known for his goal at Windsor Park in 1993 that clinched the Republic’s qualification for USA ’94. His career with the Boys in Green was to last nine years with a total of 42 caps.

Three years ago McLouglin joined Portsmouth as part of their coaching staff.


David O’Leary

Regularly overlooked by Big Jack during the tournament, David would score the vital penalty against Romania in the second-round shoot-out of Italia ‘90.

Since retirement he has gone into management with mixed results. A successful period at Leeds United has been followed by a move into the footballing wilderness with the United Arab Emirates his last destination.


Chris Hughton

Son of an Irish mother and a Ghanaian father, Hughton was the first mixed-race player to play for Ireland when he made his début in 1979. His career with the Boys in Green would see Hughton win 53 caps before retirement in 1991.

After a decade as Spurs assistant manager, Hughton has had spells in charge of Newcastle United, Birmingham City and recently Norwich City.

Loved by Newcastle fans, here’s the reception he received when returning to manage the side.


Niall Quinn

Until Robbie Keane burst onto the scene, Big Niall was Ireland’s all-time goal scorer. Quinn found the net against Holland in the group stages and scored Ireland’s only other goal from play in Italia ‘90.

Former manager and chairman of Sunderland, Quinn now holds a number of business ventures, including broadband supplier Q-Sat and Niall Quinn Media Services.

He is also a regular pundit on Sky Sports, but opinion is divided whenever he’s commentating.

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Author: The PA Team

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