With an average of more than 450,000 active players, football is the most popular of the field sports played in the Republic of Ireland
, ahead of Gaelic football, hurling and rugby. The national team is also very much revered by the general public and is capable of bringing the country to a standstill when it plays. This was the case when Ireland appeared in the 1990, 1994 and 2002 World Cups, their most celebrated achievement being participation in the quarter-finals in Italy in 1990. In addition to reaching the EURO finals in 1988, the association has had a string of successes in the youth sector and was honoured by UEFA with an award in January 2007 for its steady and constant development work - a programme that starts with training very young players and is aimed especially at the more underprivileged areas of the country. The Republic of Ireland
has produced so many players and coaches over the years that it would be impossible to name them all here.