As Ireland prepare to take on Wales in Dublin, we look back at a historic previous clash. When the sides played at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground in 1906, two film-makers were on hand to capture some of the action. The images are believed to be the oldest surviving footage of an international match in existence.
Wales and Ireland met for the first time in 1882 with the hosts thumping the Irish 7-1 in Wrexham. John Price scored four goals in the match, notching up Wales’ first ever international hat-trick. However, it was the meeting 14 years later in the Home Championship at the same venue that has gone down in football history.
The Racecourse Ground in Wrexham is the historic site where Sagar J. Mitchell and James Kenyon filmed what is believed to be the oldest surviving footage of a football international.
It must have been a feisty affair as according to reports, the football burst before half-time and had to be replaced.
The silent black-and-white film is now lodged with the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales in Aberystwyth.
In 2006, a commemorative plaque was erected at the Racecourse on the exact centenary of the game.
Wales and Ireland have clashed on 13 previous occasions (since first playing under the Republic banner in 1960) with five wins each and three draws coming into the huge game in the Aviva Stadium. Wales have not beaten Ireland in the last six attempts, their last victory coming in 1992, but Friday’s visitors have not lost a qualifying match since their 2-0 defeat to Bosnia and Herzegovina in October 2015.
Wales were also part of another notable first for Ireland. The Celtic neighbours were the opposition for the first ever football match at Croke Park, the Euro 2008 qualifier in March 2007. Stephen Ireland scored the winner in a 1-0 victory for the home side.