The issue of preserving an identity on the international footballing stage has been the one thing that has stopped Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from whole-heartedly backing what is an England-fuelled plan because that nation fancies having a talented Celt or two in their own team.
Of the Celtic nations, Northern Ireland has had to fight the preservation of its football identity on another front.
This one being right on its doorstep - or if you like, on its close neighbour's doorstep.
Confused? You will be and that won't change soon.
It usually crops up in the following three scenarios.
When Northern Ireland do well, qualify for tournaments and the Republic don't (see early to mid-1980s).
When the Republic do well, qualify for tournaments and Northern Ireland don't (see Jack Charlton's era).
When both are unbelievably bad, don't qualify and lose to teams they'd normally beat (take your pick from various decades for examples of this).
First some background - and you'll need it to have some of your confusion level lowered - although bemusement may still remain.
There is no way that the Dublin-based organisation would ever go running back to the Belfast-based one that it once stuck two fingers to in a fit of pique all those years ago.
And it is just as unlikely the Belfast-based organisation would up sticks and go to the Dublin-based one because it would be as good as admitting that those who launched the original breakaway were right to do so.
Not to mention those within those respective FA's in Belfast and Dublin wanting to preserve their power bases.
After all, a merger would see some from both sides losing their positions as the restructuring took place.
The cash flows that both organisations benefit from would be reviewed and possible trimmed given Uefa and Fifa only have the one association on that island to work with.
And the venue?
Imagine the arguments over that?
FAI would insist on Dublin, IFA would insist on Belfast. "We are in a capital city" would say the former, while the latter would retort "but we were first - you come up here".
That's before we even get down to the serious stuff.
Once those petty squabbles are resolved (and that's a big 'if') a united national team would have consequences for the domestic game on both sides of the border.
A cross-border competition, The Setanta Cup, has been in operation for the past 10 years but has not disrupted the domestic leagues of the two nations.
This event would probably carry on in the event of an FA merger and see an expansion of teams given that it is currently contested by those who finished in certain top places of the two leagues.
A united league would be more problematic.
First of all, how would you decide which of the teams from each league to keep in the new top tier and who do you keep out of it ahead of its inaugural season?
Take Linfield and Glentoran - the big two in Northern Ireland.
Say one or both of them have an average-to-bad season before the big unified league is established and fail to make a cut-off point position in the table to qualify for the aforementioned league?
Who is going to tell them that they would have to be playing second tier football even though they would not normally have been relegated in the old league for a mid-table finish?
Same argument applies to the likes of Shamrock Rovers or Shelbourne in the Republic.
The respective board of directors of all four clubs mentioned would be having palpitations in the face of having to sell season-tickets and persuade players to sign or stay on.
Even if all four made the cut into the first unified league, European places would be at a premium.
Taking away Shamrock Rovers reaching the Europa League group stage in season 2011/12, teams north and south of the border have not had the best of times in European competition in recent years.
Therefore, both nations get as many places (ie. a few) as their respective Uefa co-efficient rankings allow them.
These places would be cut in the event of merger (Uefa's roll call for both its competitions is quite lengthy and would no doubt seize upon the opportunity to cut it down).
Faced with the prospect of not getting at least one or two European ties (and the income that it brings in), those who regularly finished in European spots from both leagues will want to preserve that.
Lest we also forget another logistical nightmare.
The Republic's league runs from March to November.
Northern Ireland operates its footballing calendar from August to May.
If both were inclined to merge, how would they synchronise a suitable time-frame (and indeed waiting period) for the last season of north and south to end so that all teams get the same pre-season break?
And would the Northern Irish teams want to switch to the Republic's calendar - and vice-versa?
For the sake of argument, let's assume all the above kinks can be ironed out.
There would, however, still be a cultural issue to overcome.
Football fans of Northern Ireland's Protestant community would probably not have an issue with their club sides playing against those in the south in competition - the Setanta Cup is an example.
Backing a unified nation side - especially if it was based in Dublin - might be an issue though.
You would effectively be telling them that all those years following Northern Ireland from the highs of Sweden 58, Spain 82 and even Mexico 86, to the lows of not scoring a goal for the best part of two years (the latter days of Sammy McIlroy's spell as manager) were for nothing.
That history, those air miles, the money spent - all wasted.
Not to mention a section of that community seeing a merger as (maybe rightly or even wrongly) as some form of 'surrender' (a word which has a wee bit of significance to it on the northern side of the border).
Move the unified organisation to Belfast to quell this?
Then there would be those in the south who would object to the new team and FA not being based in what they would regard as 'the nation's capital city'.
Back to the Northern Irish - "how many players of ours would get in this team"?
That was the argument put forward in opposition to Team GB.
The IFA were (rightly) worried (along with their Scottish and Welsh counterparts) that opportunities would be limited for players from their nations to have the chance to play international football.
Right now, were you to pick an all-Ireland football team, it would probably be dominated with players from the Republic.
Thirty years ago, such a team would be dominated by players from Northern Ireland - only the likes of Liam Brady, Frank Stapleton and Mark Lawrenson from the Republic would probably have got in.
There have been players from both sides who have long since retired from football have advocated a united team.
They do so in the knowledge that they already have the caps which they won for their respective Irish side and this issue would no longer affect them.
There was one who did advocate it when he was in the prime of his career.
When a Leicester player, Lennon being from the Catholic community in Northern Ireland was not an issue for a section of fans.
After all, many Catholics had played for Northern Ireland and done well - Pat Jennings, Gerry Armstrong, Martin O'Neill and Mal Donaghy to name but a few.
Armstrong especially had no qualms about referring to Northern Ireland as his country and was as proud as anyone to represent it (as well as being the scorer of its most famous goal v host nation Spain in the 1982 World Cup).
But then Neil Lennon joined Celtic - for many in the province who had Glasgow's Protestant side, Rangers, as their Scottish team, to join that city's Catholic side was deemed to be be going too far.
A farcical argument but sadly one which a section of people bizarrely subscribed to.
The message sent out by a minority of so-called supporters was heard loud and clear - we'll tolerate you but don't you dare play for that club.
Lennon was booed every time he touched the ball in a friendly against Norway in 2001 - his first game for Northern Ireland since he joined Celtic.
The majority of fans - who had been working hard for years to repair the damage done to their image after a very hostile atmosphere at Windsor Park when the two Irish sides met in 1993 that saw the Republic qualify for the World Cup via a late equaliser - did back Lennon's right to play for Northern Ireland regardless of his background of who he played for.
A banner in following games was displayed by fans at Windsor Park stating: "Real Northern Ireland fans support Neil Lennon".
It seemed the minority had been hushed and Lennon continued to play on for the team.
Then he remarked on how for footballing reasons, he would like at some point in the future for both Irish teams to combine as one.
That proved too much for one member of the knuckle-headed boo-boy brigade who anonymously telephoned a death threat to the BBC hours before a friendly in Belfast against Cyprus that if Lennon stepped onto the pitch, he would be shot.
Lennon refused to play and never turned out for Northern Ireland again.
Even if you say that is one extreme example, there is also the current argument of the Republic achieving this aim of a unified team via the back door.
The Good Friday agreement which helped broker a political peace in Northern Ireland allowed for all citizens to take up British or Irish citizenship if they wished.
For footballers, this was a chance pick which side of the border to represent.
Boxers had been doing this for a while - although they had fought in the ring for both sides.
Former World bantam-weight champion, Wayne McCullough from Belfast's predominantly Protestant Shankill area boxed for Northern Ireland in the Commonwealth Games and the Republic of Ireland in the Olympics.
Barry McGuigan, from the Catholic side of the divide, would do the same before going on to become World feather-weight champion.
Unfortunately for Northern Ireland, this rule has seen an exodus which has seen them lose the likes Derry/Londonderry born players such as James McClean and Darron Gibson to the Republic even though both had represented Northern Ireland at various youth/age levels.
This rule in particular has had some saying that the two nations should combine as one is being drained of its talent by the other.
To back up this line even further, the all-Ireland rugby team that plays competitively has also been cited.
As red herrings go, this example is positively crimson.
With rugby there had been two separate unions - both formed in 1874.
One controlled the vast majority of the game in Ireland while the other was more Belfast orientated.
They both merged in 1879 to create the Irish Rugby Football Union which still exists in its Dublin HQ today.
This though came at a time when all of Ireland was within the boundaries of the British empire.
Come partition, the IRFU met and all four provinces (including Ulster who had the majority of its counties forming Northern Ireland and were therefore still in the United Kingdom) agreed to continued to administer its affairs as the 32 counties of Ireland - regardless of which country six of them happened to be in.
They took the pragmatic step of keeping an international presence in Belfast by purchasing a ground at Ravenhill (Ulster rugby's current home) - although the last time Ireland played there was in 1954 in a loss against Scotland.
But unlike football, Dublin was always the IRFU's home base.
Belfast had been football's and there was no breakaway rugby union being formed in Northern Ireland to create the logistical problems soccer has now of combining the two Irish sides.
What has helped with rugby has been a strong Ulster presence with the Irish team which has no doubt allowed those on the northern side of the border to back the Ireland team while maintaining their political belief to remain British.
Trevor Ringland was one such figure who played for Ireland but also once attempted to stand for parliament in East Belfast for the Ulster Unionist party.
He famously claimed that when he once scored a try in a win over England, both sides of the Maze Prison cheered.
For Ringland though, sport - and rugby in particular - was a way of unifying people without having to change political borders on the island of Ireland.
As he said in an interview with The Belfast Telegraph last January:
"Those who want to divide us use it (identity) to alienate others.
"They create an Irish identity that doesn't include a million other people on the island who see themselves also as British, or a British identity that doesn't include anyone who sees themselves also as Irish.
"The challenge to those who use that exclusive concept of identity is to use inclusive concepts.
"The Irish rugby team shows an Irish identity that can also be British. The Lions have an identity which is both British and Irish.
"(Golfer) Rory McIlroy is a good example of someone who understands that it is far more complex.
"He is proud to be from Northern Ireland and from Ulster. He's proudly Irish, proudly British and when he plays in the Ryder Cup he's proud to represent Europe.
"Look at (boxer) Paddy Barnes. He boxed for Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games, and when he boxes, he boxes for all of us, whether it's with Northern Ireland or Ireland.
"In the Olympics we have sportsmen and women from here competing for Team Ireland and others for Team GB, so we have a chance of winning more medals than anyone else.
"If you buy into a more complex and inclusive concept of identity, it actually creates a stable society.
"The uniting of people, whether in Northern Ireland, Ireland or across these islands, is achievable, and actually far more valuable than some form of constitutional unity or physical unity when you don't have a united people."
Even if the majority of the populations of the Republic and (especially) Northern Ireland gave their backing to a unified football team, the aforementioned administrative (and financial) details listed earlier on in this piece would be the main barrier that would be hard to overcome.
Both the IFA and the FAI have established power bases with all the quirks that come with it.
The clubs on both sides of the border - especially the leading ones - enjoy being at the top of their own respective piles and the European adventures, that would be limited with a combined set-up, that are currently open to them.
In the cold light of day, this is only going to happen if there is a political change.
If the majority of voters in Northern Ireland vote for the nationalist parties which in turn brings about a single Irish state, then the football authorities of both sides of the border will have no option but to merge.
But, unless something drastic happens, that is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future.
You will still see the new George Best or the new Liam Brady in a green shirt.
However, no matter how many times the issue of an all-Ireland team is brought up, those players will still be wearing the green of two separate footballing nations.