Ireland's international football fallouts

There have been a few since the turn of the Millennium

Mick McCarthy, Roy Keane, Saipan, 2002, World Cup

Manager Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane pass each other during training ©INPHO/Andrew Paton

Mark Kennedy's Ireland career finished rather abruptly in 2002 after 34 caps and four goals.

But little had been known about the events that led up him not featuring for the Boys in Green beyond the age of 26.

This week, the former Liverpool, Manchester City and Wolves player shared his side of the story with former team-mate Kevin Kilbane and told the story of a fallout with ex-Ireland manager Brian Kerr in an apparent miscommunication over availability for a set of matches.

"That was the day my Ireland career [ended] and I just refused to play for them after that," says Kennedy, who now coaches in Manchester City's academy.

Disagreements are part of life and occur regularly at club and international football level.

For example, why did Liverpool's Dejan Lovren not go to Euro 2016 with Croatia?

Ultimately, his relationship with the Croatian national team manager had disintegrated.  

West German great Bernd Schuster never played for his national team beyond the age of 25 after growing discontent

Of course, it goes without saying that arguably the most high profile example of a fallout comes from our own shores, although the event actually took place on the shores of another island.

Mark Kennedy

Saipan remains seared in the collective memory and led to Roy Keane leaving the Ireland camp on the eve of the 2002 World Cup after falling out with Mick McCarthy.  

Indeed, "Saipan" is one of those terms that can be uttered here and will almost certainly be followed by a knowing glance or nod. 

Keane did return to the international fold briefly under McCarthy's successor Kerr, but there is a sense of 'What if?' about that World Cup given that Keane was still at the peak of his powers and a squad with talented youngsters like Robbie Keane and Damien Duff had been unlucky to be knocked out in the last 16 by Spain.

A fellow Cork man in the shape of Stephen Ireland provides a different type of case.

By the time his international career ended prematurely at the age of 21 in 2007 during the Steve Staunton era, Ireland had departed with a peculiarly impressive goal record of four in six caps.

Things unraveled quite quickly in the Autumn of 2007 as Ireland looked to be excused from international duty prior to a match against Czech Republic.

Stephen Ireland

Unfortunately, the player stated that a maternal grandmother - who was very much alive as the papers would quickly uncover - had passed away. Soon after it was claimed that it was his paternal grandmother, which again was proven not to be the case.

"I decided at that stage that I must tell the truth and admit I had told lies," the then Manchester City midfielder said.

"I realise now that it was a massive mistake to say my grandmothers had died and I deeply regret it. It was wrong and I sincerely apologise as I have caused a lot of problems for many people. I would like to apologise to my grandmothers and all my family. I have learnt a valuable lesson from this mess and hope those I have hurt will forgive me."

Despite the public apology, Ireland never played for Ireland again. Initially it was a blow as the midfielder was briefly a Premier League force for Man City at a time when we were crying out for engine room operators.

Bar the occasional rumour of a potential international return from exile in the years prior to his decline, an Ireland comeback has never seemed to be on the cards and back in 2009, he commented: "I've left my country now, and obviously left under the wrong terms, but it's happened and, since then my life has gone really nicely.

"Even if they get to the [2010] World Cup, there's not a part of me that will think, 'That could have been me, I could have been there.'"

That World Cup qualification campaign saw Giovanni Trapattoni almost guide Ireland (the country) to South Africa.

The following campaign for Euro 2012 was much more successful... well, apart from the actual Euro 2012 tournament itself.

Stephen Hunt on the Kevin Foley situation

In the build up, right back Kevin Foley was dropped from the final 23 man squad with Paul McShane replacing him. And his response was strong.

"It is hard to take, you know. I sort of feel betrayed. I don't want to go into too much detail. I just feel betrayed," said the then Wolves man.

"I have done everything I can. That is all I can do. Words can't really describe it. It was tough. The lads have been great, but what happened happened, there's nothing I can do about it now. I hope the lads go on and do as well as they can from the tournament."

Foley never had the opportunity to line out for Ireland again as his international career ground to a halt at the age of just 28.