FAI recognise Ireland v Bulgaria match at 1924 Paris Olympics as first-ever senior international

The FAI have today formally recognised Ireland’s meeting with Bulgaria at the 1924 Olympic Games as the side’s first-ever senior international men’s match.

In the centenary year of the 1-0 victory in Paris, that game and three other 1924 fixtures have now been reclassified after receiving approval from the FAI board, following extensive historical research undertaken by a committee to have the four games officially recognised.

The four fixtures, 100 years ago, saw the FAI field a men’s national team for the first time at the Olympics against Bulgaria, with Paddy Duncan grabbing the winner, before they took on the Netherlands in the quarter-final, falling to a 2-1 defeat.

Ireland also played two friendlies against Estonia and the USA that summer, winning both 3-1. In 1999, FIFA told all associations who competed in the 1924 Games that they can determine the reclassification of the fixtures themselves.

And now officially recognised in the history books, the living relatives of the 1924 players have been tracked down by the committee and will be invited to Ireland’s home friendly against Hungary next month to celebrate the milestone.

Relatives of two players and the trainer have yet to be tracked down however, and the FAI have appealed to the public to help find and contact the families of Mick Farrell (St James’ Gate), Frank Collins (Jacobs) and trainer Charlie Harris (Bohemian FC), so they too can be invited to the celebration.

"This is a huge day in the history of the FAI and a proud moment as we formally re-classify and recognise the achievements of the 1924 side," said FAI President Paul Cooke.

"Firstly, I want to thank and congratulate the committee of Gary (Spain), Paul (Lennon), Tadhg (Carey), Aodhán (Ó Ríordáin) and Gerry (Farrell) for all of the incredible research and work which went into the proposal. Their tireless efforts has led to the recognition and reclassification of these matches which means the living relatives of the players will be able to join us to formally celebrate their achievements.”

“The players who participated are forever recognised as Irish Olympians and deserve fully to be recognised as having participated in the FAI’s first international football match as well,” added Olympic Federation of Ireland CEO Peter Sherrard.

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