While looking for a picture of Donal Leahy I ran into a fascinating paper on the match between the Repulic of Ireland and Yugoslavia in 1955 by Conor McCabe of the Dublin Opinion blog. The paper first appeared in Football Studies 11, 1 (2008) and is based on a paper which was presented at the 2005 Irish Sport History Conference.You can find the paper on the Irish Left Review website.
Here's an excerpt,"The controversy, however, reveals a clash between classes and culture in 1950s Ireland, rather than one between politics or ideology. This is not to say that 1950s Ireland was bereft of clashes over politics or ideology, but that the Ireland v Yugoslavia game became a protest against an attempt by the dominant Irish conservative forces to interfere with the most popular cultural activity of working class Dublin, rather than one energised by a desire on the part of the working class to confront the government, the Catholic Church, or the permanent secretaries of the Irish civil service. The game also provides an entry into Irish working class life – an area often neglected by Irish historians, and one with a culture that, on this occasion at least, found itself in uneasy conflict with the Irish establishment."
Check it out and give props to Conor McCabe for his cracking research.