Sports Letters: Born to run

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your 'Today's number - 6' (29 April) stated one of the favourite English media facts about the Republic of Ireland football team viz the significant number of their players not born in Ireland. Its repetition almost appears to be an effort to diminish their recent achievements. Ireland are doing nothing more than England when it comes to picking their national team. John Barnes' performance last Wednesday against Holland was to be admired but, he, too, was not born in the country he now represents. When talent, is scarce you pick it wherever you can. The almost indecent haste with which Graeme Hick was rushed into the England cricket team illustrates this. The difference between England and Ireland is only one of scale. Not all the regulations drawn up by sports administrators are of benefit to the respective games but surely one that allows a team such as the present Republic of Ireland to take the field can't be bad. I'm sure John Barnes thinks so, too.

Yours faithfully,

FRANK HARKIN

Derry

5 May

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