World football itself had arrived in Ireland a couple of years before when Scottish clubs Queens Park and the Caledonian played an exhibition at Ulsters cricket ground after John M. McAlery, first Secretary of the Football Association of Ireland, discovered the game while honeymooning in Edinburgh. On 18 November 1880, on an invitation from Ulster FC, seven clubs met and formed the Irish Football Association, intending to organise, administer, and promote the game in Ireland. Modern football, with its ruleset, began in the United Kingdom in 1863, when clubs were formed (football clubs) to play games against each other. Places such as Chile, Denmark, Switzerland, Ireland, Finland, Germany, Argentina, the Netherlands, Scotland, and others began incorporating football (association football) as a sport.
The FAI announced that the first association football match that would take place at Aviva Stadium would be between Manchester United and the League of Ireland XI. Ireland’s earliest recorded association football game was played on 11 December 1875 in front of some spectators.
Ireland legend Robbie Keane played for Ireland in three major tournaments, scoring three goals in the 2002 World Cup – including the late-minute equaliser against eventual finalist Germany. No Irish player has scored more goals than him (3) at a World Cup. Keane was also the Republic of Ireland National Team’s well-known captain and their team’s coach.
Robert David Keane played for 11 different clubs over his 21-year career, scoring an impressive 325 goals in 737 matches and 68 goals for the Irish side in 146 games. Robert David Keane is the highest-ever Irish goalscorer, having been captained more than any other Irishman. Robbie Keane with English club Tottenham have established records in the club and international football, which appear unlikely ever to be surpassed by any Irishman.
Keane is the living legend of Ireland, a man whose goals propelled them to seemingly never-ending qualifying campaigns for Euros and the World Cup. Despite a brilliant 20-year career, some people regard Robbie as a less legendary figure than others in Irish football. Ireland legend Robbie Keane started his career with Wolves, then embarked on a club-hopping career that took him to Italy with Internazionale, Scotland with Celtic, and America with David Beckham’s LA Galaxy. Again, it was international football for his country, which would pull Robbie Keane out of playing almost no club football.
Keane began his coaching career with the Ireland senior squad as assistant manager under Mick McCarthy’s managerial setup in November 2018, after declaring his retirement from playing. In 2019, he also became an assistant manager at Championship club Middlesbrough, where his former teammate Jonathan Woodgate is the manager.