Single Irish football team needed: says McGuinness

5/3/12 PACEMAKER INTL BELFAST.  Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness during this evenings Setanta Cup game between Linfield and Derry City at Windsor Park, Belfast. Picture CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER

5/3/12 PACEMAKER INTL BELFAST. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness during this evenings Setanta Cup game between Linfield and Derry City at Windsor Park, Belfast. Picture CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER

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Martin McGuinness has reiterated his desire for an all-Ireland international football team after visiting the home of the Northern Irish side for the first time in almost 50 years.

Earlier this week, the Deputy First Minister was at Windsor Park in Belfast to watch a club game between Derry City and hosts Linfield.

The Sinn Fein leader’s attendance at Windsor Park came just weeks after First Minister Peter Robinson was a guest at his first Gaelic football match.

“It was a very pleasant experience to be there and I want to pay tribute to the board of Linfield and everyone associated with the club for the very warm welcome that I received, and it’s very clearly a sign of the changing times,” he said.

“Talking as a sports fan, it is my very strong view that soccer on the island would be much better served if we had an all-Ireland league and one international team.

“But that is a matter for the footballing authorities. That’s only my opinion as a true sports fan.”