Ireland men's national water polo team

Ireland is an international men's water polo team representing the island of Ireland. The Irish Water Polo Association (IWPA) was founded in 1964 and is affiliated to Swim Ireland.[1]

AssociationSwim Ireland
ConfederationLEN (Europe)
Head coachMichael Banks
Olympic Games
Appearances2 (first in 1924)
Best result1/8 finals, 1924, 1928


The rules of water polo were originally developed by William Wilson in the mid-nineteenth century. The game was originally played in rivers and lakes in England and Scotland. Between 1890 and 1900, the game developed in Europe using British rules, but a different game was being played in the United States.

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the four Home NationsEngland, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales — contested regular internationals against each other. Ireland were often outclassed, losing every match against England from 1895 to 1910.[2] However, Noel Purcell won a gold medal on the Great Britain team at the 1920 Olympic water polo tournament.

In 1922, the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom and the Olympic Council of Ireland joined the International Olympic Committee. Purcell captained Ireland at the 1924 Olympics.[3] Ireland had a bye in the first round when Austria pulled out.[4] In the second round, they lost 4–2 against Czechoslovakia.[5] At the 1924 Tailteann Games, Ireland beat a team representing England.[6] In the 1928 Olympic tournament, Ireland lost its only match 11–1 to Belgium.[7] The expense of travel to Los Angeles ruled out participating in the 1932 tournament, and Ireland boycotted the 1936 Games in a dispute over Northern Ireland.[8]

Ireland has not competed in the Olympics since 1928, and has never qualified for the World Championships.[9] Although Home International matches continued into the 1960s, the transition to higher-specification indoor swimming pools was long delayed in Ireland. The outdoor sea baths at Clontarf and Blackrock fell into disuse. The IWPA was established in 1964 and the first pool to meet FINA regulations for length, breadth, and depth opened in 2002.

Recent results

2007 European 'B' Championships

Qualifying Group 'C', in Kotor, Montenegro:[10]

Finals, in Manchester:[11]

  • Group B:
    • 8 July : lost 5–33 v. France
    • 9 July : lost 3–19 v. Ukraine
    • 10 July : lost 5–20 v. Great Britain
    • 11 July : lost 9–15 v. Israel
    • 12 July : lost 5–16 v. Poland
  • Classification playoff:
    • 13 July : lost 6–13 v. Malta


  1. Montenegro, having secured independence from Serbia, had only just joined LEN and so started at the bottom of the rankings. Having won the 2007 B final, they beat Serbia in the final of the 2008 A Championship.

Since 2008

In February 2009, Ireland played a five-nation tournament in Denmark, losing all four matches.[1]

Results summary

Olympic Games
European Championship
  • 2007: 12th ('B' Championships)[12]


  1. International Senior Men Archived 2008-05-09 at the Wayback Machine Irish Water Polo Association Website
  2. "Swimming". Evening Post. LXXX (92). Wellington, New Zealand. 15 October 1910. p. 14. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  3. Games of the VIII Olympiad: Official Report p.489
  4. Games of the VIII Olympiad: Official Report p.490
  5. Games of the VIII Olympiad: Official Report p.492
  6. Associated Press (13 August 1924). "Tailteann Games". New York Times. p. 11 Sports. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  7. Games of the IX Olympiad: Official Report pp.806,808
  8. Krüger, Arnd; William J. Murray (2003). The Nazi Olympics: sport, politics and appeasement in the 1930s. University of Illinois Press. p. 230. ISBN 0-252-02815-5.
  9. HistoFINA Volume VIII: Water Polo medallists and statistics Archived 2015-06-26 at the Wayback Machine Jean-Louis Meuret, FINA 2007/8
  10. European 'B' Water Polo Championships 2007: qualifying LEN
  11. European 'B' Water Polo Championships 2007 LEN
  12. Manchester 2007 - European B Water Polo Championships - Final Ranking LEN
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