The papers are filled with some potentially great news to round off an otherwise wretched 2018 for the Irish team. The Irish Daily Star and the Irish Independent are today reporting that the FAI are "confident" that Declan Rice will choose to declare for the Republic of Ireland, rather than England.
Rice played three times for the Irish senior team this year, although none of those were in competitive, tether-yourself-to-Ireland-for-the-rest-of-time games. Gareth Southgate made his move on Rice over the summer, inviting him to St George's Park for a PowerPoint presentation on how he could contribute to the England team.
This led him to skive off the Nations League as he established himself in the West Ham team and considered his future, with Martin O'Neill content to give him time to make his decision.
Now that O'Neill is gone, Mick McCarthy has met with Rice, and the FAI are reportedly confident that he will declare for Ireland ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, which starts in Gibraltar in March. McCarthy phoned Rice's father - who has his son's Irish caps framed in his home - within 24 hours of his return as Irish manager, and has since sat down with both.
It went well, apparently, and the hope is now that he will throw his lot in with Ireland, and we can all use this positivity to forget that 2018 ever happened.