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Kelly: Decision on Kevin was tough

STEPHEN Kelly didn't enjoy Tuesday very much. Like the rest of the squad, he felt the tremors of Kevin Foley's exit keenly and is concerned about the impact it will have on the next two weeks.

"Stuff like this does bring you closer together because you kind of realise how fragile the whole thing is. Something like this can change the dynamics of things, but we are a really, really close team and we all get on so well together," he said.

"It was a really tough day. We got the news earlier on and what can you say, your heart just goes out to Kevin, you know. He's been in the squad for so long and to find out is very tough on him," said Kelly.

"Our thoughts have to be with him now, but it's just very hard to take for a player. Sometimes things like this happen in football and you get down, but you just have to bounce back from it and he's got great character."

"He's a confident lad, but I'm sure he's feeling down at the moment and we'll all just rally around him and let him know that it's not the end of things. Hopefully he can have a good summer," he said.

"Anybody would be down when you get that news. You would be inhuman not to feel some sort of remorse about it and feel down, but he played in the friendly a few days ago and he did well. He proved why he's always been in the squad and why he's been involved."

Kelly was quick to seek out Foley and offer his commiserations to a player who shaken to the core by Trapattoni's decision.

"I just said 'sorry Kevin'. What can you say apart from 'sorry to hear, I'm disappointed for you'. All you can say is sorry, but words are going to be empty for him now from all of us, but all you do is put your arm around him and tell him to continue to keep on playing the way he does for his club."

"When he has played for Ireland he has performed admirably so he just needs to continue in that vein and hopefully he'll come back a stronger player after what's happened."

"We're a very tight squad and so that makes this even tougher because we've been together for a long time and we are really close. It's one of our friends in there who has been let go and it's difficult to take.

"You knew the manager was going to be faced with this kind of difficult decision going into the tournament because for most games the manager picks 26 or 27 players, so a lot of lads have been left out."

"My roommate Liam Lawrence isn't here and we've been rooming together for the last four years, so people you've built up really good relationships with missed out.

"It's so unfortunate for Kevin to have got this far and having been named in the original 23 I'm sure it's that bit more hurtful to him, but it's something I'm sure he'll take on the chin and get on with his career.

"All we can do is say sorry to him, give him a pat on the back and that's it really."