Monday 24 October 2016

Damien Delaney ends Ireland career but has 'no issue' with Roy Keane

Published 19/08/2015 | 19:40

Damien Delaney
Damien Delaney

Crystal Palace centrehalf Damien Delaney appears to have retired from international football after releasing a detailed statement on his Instagram account.

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Eyebrows were raised yesterday after Delaney was omitted from the Irish squad for the Gibraltar and Georgia qualifiers in September, given he is one of the few Irish defenders operating in the Premier League.

There was speculation in the media to suggest that the reason Delaney was overlooked may have been down to difference he had with Roy Keane in the past.

In an English courtroom in 2011, when the Corkman was playing under Keane at Ipswich, he blamed his 'unreasonable manager' for his speeding ticket because if was late for training, he would receive a fine.

He claimed that the 'future of Irish football does not lie with me' which suggests that he has played his last game for Ireland and that his decision has nothing to do with Keane.

Here is the statement in full:

"Good afternoon... I just want to clarify my position with regards to the Ireland national team and my omission from the current squad.

"I have no issue with Roy Keane and shook his hand this summer at a Cork City European match.

"I know that at the age of 34 the future of Irish football does not lie with me, the rigours of premier league football and the 24/7 dedication required takes its toll so I look on the international break as a chance to recover, that said I spoke to Martin O Neill and contrary to his recent comments I never asked for a regular starting position.

"I did however disagree with certain aspects which out of respect to Martin and the national team will remain private. Ireland need to plan for the long term even if it means sacrificing one maybe two major tournaments.

"We need to build an identity and team ethos from schoolboy football to full international that will last. I understand people weren't enamoured with Mr. Trapattoni but whether you agreed with his philosophy or not you have to respect the man and the results he achieved with his philosophy.

"There are many footballing philosophies and we need to choose one that suits Irish traits and strengths best, similar to what Wales are now achieving or what Mr. Trapattoni achieved in his time in charge.

"I'll always be an ardent supporter and wish I could of contributed more... #coybig #identity."

The quote from O’Neill which Delaney was responding to, and which appeared in several English media outlets today, doesn’t tally with a recording of the press conference.

“I do not think that Damien, from his own viewpoint, would definitely come back to play if he was not guaranteed playing in the side [and] I cannot guarantee anybody a place in the side,” he was reported to have said.

A careful review of the tape suggests a more accurate version would be “if he was guaranteed playing in the side” and that O’Neill believed that Delaney would not return EVEN if he was guaranteed a place in the Ireland team.

“I do not think at his age if he wants to be running as just being part of this squad. I cannot guarantee that to almost all the team.”

However, the publication of the quote has triggered a response from Delaney which is clearly heart-felt and something he has given considerable thought to.

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