“It’s so lonely round the fields of Athenry”. Shay called time on his 16 years service to Ireland today announcing on Twitter the end of an era: “After a lot of thought and consideration, I have made the most difficult decision to retire from international football. It’s been a great honour and privilege to play and on occasion captain the team. I shall remain a huge fan of the team as I have been all my life. I wish them every success for the future. I wish to thank all the players, managers, staff and most importantly the most wonderful fans in the world. Finally I would like to thank my wife Jane, my 2 amazing kids and my entire family for their unwavering support over the 16 years and 125 caps.”
Interestingly what Shay didn’t say but what appeared on the FAI website was “Given also continued to show his support and dedication to the squad by saying that should there be an emergency, he would happily return to assist with goalkeeping duties. Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli have said that they are extremely grateful that Given has said that he would make himself available should they need him. Trapattoni said, ‘I understand the difficult decision that Shay had to make, and appreciate all of his efforts during his international career. He is a strong player, with a great character and his love of playing for his country always shone through. It has been a pleasure to work with him during my time with the team. I wish him the very best in his future.”
So maybe we MIGHT just MIGHT see Shay play one last game sometime in the next years? Who knows. But no matter what Shay, you’ve done us proud, given us 16 years and 125 games of football in the green and white. You’ll be missed.
Shay holds 125 caps for his country making him the highest capped Irish player in history!