O’Shea retires from international football
John O’Shea has announced his international retirement by penning an open letter to Irish supporters on the official FAI website.
By announcing his retirement from international football after Sunderland’s last game of the season, and with his contract expiring at the end of June, that presumably means he intends to carry on playing at club level.
But after our relegation to League One, an imminent takeover and no manager in place, it may be a while before we know whether or not he has played his last game in the red and white stripes of Sunderland.
O’Shea had a 17-year career at senior level for the Republic of Ireland, picking up 117 caps along the way, with 17 of those seeing the defender wearing the captain’s armband. He is one of only six players - the others being Robbie Keane, Shay Given, Kevin Kilbane, Steve Staunton and Damien Duff - to reach a century of caps for Ireland and he retires as the third most-capped player for his country.
His last game for his country will be on June 2 when Ireland face the USA at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. He may also get the chance to appear when Ireland travel to Paris to take on France at the end of May.
O’Shea, who was handed his Ireland debut by former Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy, had arguably his greatest moment in an Irish shirt when he scored a last minute equaliser against Germany on his 100th appearance in a vital qualifier for Euro 2016.
After 22 years of representing my country (17 at senior level) it is with great sadness & joy that I will be pulling on the Republic of Ireland jersey for the last time on the 2nd of June in the Aviva Stadium.
It has been an amazing journey but I feel now is the right time to step aside for the next generation to enjoy the experiences I am so humbled to have been part of.
We have just passed the 20th anniversary of the Ireland Under 16s winning the UEFA European Championships in Scotland and it is fitting that the current U17 squad are now competing on the same stage. I still look back at that particular triumph as the real starting point for my international career. I’m sure the young lads making up Colin O’Brien’s squad will be loving every minute of the tournament; just like I did under Brian Kerr and the late Noel O’Reilly.
I always wanted to play as much as I could at senior level and to now have 117 caps has truly been an honour.
There have been many highlights, such as leading Ireland out as captain, featuring at two UEFA European Championships, and getting to share a pitch alongside so many committed and talented players over the years.
It is a similar sentiment with regard to my managers at international level – Mick McCarthy, Brian Kerr, Steve Staunton, Don Givens, Giovanni Trapattoni, Noel King, and Martin O’Neill, they placed their trust in me and I hope that I paid them back in a small way by always giving everything on the pitch.
I would also like to acknowledge the support I have always received from Sunderland and, prior to that, Manchester United, in particular, Sir Alex Ferguson who is in my thoughts at the moment - get well soon Boss!
I’ve never taken anything in life for granted and the passing in the last year of my Dad, Jim, and my friend & team-mate Liam Miller has shown me that every moment in life (not just football) should be cherished.
I have certainly cherished my international career, it will be emotional walking out for the final time in front of the Ireland supporters. But it is now time to say thank you and allow others to lead the team forward, it’s been an amazing honour to wear our green shirt.
I would like to thank my family especially, my Mam, Mary, and brother Alan, who have given me nothing but support over the years, my friends, my underage coaches, especially at Ferrybank and Bohemians (Waterford), my schools Ferrybank BNS and De La Salle college, my team-mates, every staff member who has helped me through the years, my managers, and, most importantly, the Ireland supporters – it was always a real privilege to play in front of you!
To my wife, Yvonne, I thank you for your constant support, and to my kids, Alfie and Ruby, we can look forward to watching Ireland games together as supporters.
- John O’Shea
Loan duo in cup action
Fabio Borini and Josh Robson were both in action last night as Milan took on Juventus in the final of the Coppa Italia and Notodden were at home against Odd in the third round of the Norwegian Football Cup.
Borini came on in the 67th minute but at that point his Milan side were already 3-0 down to Juventus, thanks to three quick second half goals.
A Douglas Costa goal was sandwiched by strikes from central defender Medhi Benatia, with Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma gifting Juventus their second and third of the evening.
Milan continued to self-destruct after Borini’s introduction with former Blackburn striker Nikola Kalinic heading into his own net to wrap up the tie. The on-loan Sunderland striker did come close to scoring himself, but a good near post save from Gianluigi Buffon prevented a consolation goal.
The comfortable 4-0 win all but confirms that Juventus have done the double for the fourth consecutive season.
Meanwhile Josh Robson was in action as Notodden lost out on penalties to top division side Odds Ballklubb in the third round of the Norwegian Cup. Notodden, who had knocked out Pors Grenland and Asker in previous rounds, had the perfect start thanks to a slick, second minute counter-attack was topped off by a calm finish by Pipo Ferreira.
Unfortunately for the home side, Odd equalised just before the half-time whistle when Stefan Mladenovic ran onto a through ball and slotted past Espen Vasby in the home goal.
While both sides threatened to score a winner, the game eventually petered out thanks to players tiring and no winner could be found before the end of extra time. That sent the tie to penalties, which Odd won 3-1 thanks to their goalkeeper saving two vital spot kicks.