The Republic of Ireland national football team, as governed by the Football Association of Ireland, has featured many players who were not born in Ireland. The first player to be capped after qualifying through his parents' nationality was Shay Brennan, who made his debut in a World Cup qualifier against Spain in 1965.
The majority of these players were born in England, mostly the North West and London due to the large Irish diaspora in those areas. Most famously, in the late 1980s and 1990s the Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton sought out players in England and used what became known as the "granny rule", with the stronger pool of talent helping the team to qualify for several tournaments, which had never been achieved prior to Charlton's appointment. There were a few England-born internationals in the squads of that era who had been raised in Ireland and learned to play football at local clubs, not least Paul McGrath and David O'Leary as well as Curtis Fleming and Stephen McPhail.