Football

The Irish-Born Championship Regular Who Was Completely Overlooked By The FAI

The Irish-Born Championship Regular Who Was Completely Overlooked By The FAI

He was born in Dublin. He was a Championship regular for Millwall during the reigns of Steve Staunton and Giovanni Trapattoni but still, Alan Dunne was never capped for Ireland.

When you consider the lengths managers have gone to in the past seeking out players of Irish heritage and the individuals with far more tenuous Irish connections who have been mooted as possible internationals, it seems particularly ridiculous that he was overlooked.

Dunne amassed nearly 400 games for Millwall during his 15 years there as a pro. His family had moved to England during the economic hardship of 80s Ireland.

That he was never called up to an Ireland squad is the great regret of Dunne's career.

The 33-year-old, who currently plays for Leyton Orient, spoke to the Irish Sun upon the release of his autobiography 'Dunne It The Hard Way'.

I felt I deserved an Irish cap. I was at my best when Steve Staunton and Giovanni Trapattoni were in charge.

I played probably 230 games in the Championship for Millwall.

My first year under Kenny Jackett, we finished eighth. We had one of the best defences in the league.

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Dunne's time at Millwall overlapped with a number of Irish players. The likes of Andy Keogh, David Forde and Richie Sadlier were teammates.

When Forde received his first call-up in 2011, Millwall were a top-half Championship club. Despite him also being part of that defence, Dunne was not called up. He believes this comes down to no one at the FAI being aware that he was Irish.

You don’t get included for leaking goals, you get included for keeping clean sheets.

You have to have a back four in front of you and one of those was me. I was Irish and playing week in, week out. He was included and I wasn’t.

I don’t think people were aware that I was Irish. I was at Millwall since the age of ten. Whenever I told someone, they hadn’t known.

Read: Eamon Dunphy Uses Damien Delaney's Omission From Ireland Squad For A Pop At Paul McShane

PJ Browne
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