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Taoiseach made calls for unified team for charity matches ahead of the North-South Ministerial Council but was given the short shrift by the Irish Football Association

Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced before the NSMC that a united Ireland team should play charity matches against England every two years but his suggestion was quickly shot down by Northern Ireland's football governing body, the IFA.

"Given the nature of sports people they would be more than willing to participate in what would be an occasion of visible integration of sport, but also with a real impact for the development of facilities for all the children of the island of Ireland," he said according to the BBC.

Kenny was hopeful that such matches, played at Wembley or Croke Park, would raise funds for specialist hospitals on both sides of the border, in Belfast and Dublin.

First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness offered support for the proposal but an IFA spokesperson quickly poured cold water on it.

"The idea is not, and will not be on the association’s radar," a statement to the Irish Times read.

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