City have only ever taken on one Irish team competitively – and it almost ended in an embarrassing defeat for the defending champions.
Northern Ireland part-timers Linfield were paired with City in the first round of the 1970/71 European Cup Winners’ Cup and the first leg at Maine Road was a tense affair, with Colin Bell scoring the only goal in front of 25,184 fans.
If the Blues envisaged a comfortable path into the second round for the return leg at Windsor Park, Belfast, they were mistaken as Linfield put up a terrific fight and won the game 2-1 on the night.
The last time City played in Ireland was in August 2006 when Stuart Pearce sent a strong team over to beat former City keeper Tommy Wright’s Ballymena 3-1 with goals from Antoine Sibierski, Bernardo Corradi and Danny Mills.
The game against League of Ireland XI is not that uncommon and the last visit the Blues made to the Emerald Isle was in 1992 when Peter Reid’s team won 3-0 in Dublin and then lost 3-1 to Celtic a day later. City also played Portadown that season, drawing 1-1.
The year before, the Blues played a total of six times in Ireland over the course of the campaign, winning every game. A pre-season tour saw wins over Cork City, Limerick and Bohemians before returning in January to beat Portadown and Derry City during a brief mid-season break.
City returned to beat Limerick 3-1 ten days after the season had ended
During 1990/91 the Blues beat Shelbourne and Cork in August before returning to draw 2-2 with Shamrock Rovers the following March.
Ten years earlier, John Bond’s City beat Cork 4-0 in December but you have to go way back to the 1946/47 to find the visit prior to that game where Wilf Wild took his talented side to play Shelbourne and Linfield in June prior to the last game of the season against Newport County.
In 1931 the Blues travelled to Belfast again to beat Linfield 4-1 but the very first trip across the water was 30 years before that, when Sam Ormerod’s team – including Billy Meredith - played Belfast & District in a 1902 friendly, winning 3-1.