The FAI announced today that Ireland will play World and European Champions Spain in a friendly international in Yankee Stadium in New York in June. The time Ireland headed to the USA for Friendly Internationals managed by Steve Staunton, the squad was ripped apart by injuries and cry-offs. We look at the final squad selected by the gaffer and see what they’re doing now...
Then: 21-year-old Doyle had just burst onto the scene with Birmingham City having displaced the north’s Maik Taylor for the number one jersey.
Now: Birmingham’s perennial back up keeper. He’s made only 11 league starts since making his Ireland debut. Proudly unbeaten as Ireland keeper though.
Then: First-choice keeper with Barnsley in the Championship (having won promotion in 2006)
Now: 39-year-old and goalkeeper coach at Huddersfield. He won 10 caps for Ireland, the last in 2007
Then: Fighting for first choice at Preston North End in the Championship.
Now: Henderson retired from football in March 2011 after a series of injuries. He was 27 at the time.
Then: Aston Villa trainee had spent the end of 2006/07 with Wycombe Wanderers in League Two.
Now: Still only 25 he plays with Nuneaton Town in 5th tier Conference National
Then: Steve Bruce’s son was an established Championship performer with Ipswich. He made his international debut on tour and followed with a second and last cap in 2008 under new manager Giovanni Trapattoni.
Now: Bruce was signed by his dad for Hull City in the Championship. He recently made his international debut for Northern Ireland. A rare modern day double international.
Then: Bought by Birmingham City for an initial £750,00 from Spurs in 2006. Kelly was 23 and established in Championship.
Now: A regular first-team squad member for club and country with Reading and Ireland. Had a recent bust up with Trapattoni too.
Then: Contracted to Arsenal, the 20 year old had spent the latter part of the 2006/07 season with League One's Brighton.
Now: After a spell in the League of Ireland with St Patrick’s Athletic, 26-year-old O’Cearuill has drifted down the leagues and now plays with Haringey Borough in the 9th tier Spartan South Midlands Premier League.
Then: 26-year-old Dubliner, who had played practically all his career with League Two side Carlisle United. He was the first international at Carlisle in 40 years
Now: Murphy has now made close to 500 appearances for Carlisle and received a testimonial game last year. Another with his only Ireland caps coming from the US tour
Then: Considered the League of Ireland’s best defensive midfielder Gamble was another to receive a late call up following withdrawals. Cork City had a game postponed to accommodate him. Steve Staunton showed how much he knew about defensive minded gamble by playing him as a right winger in his only start.
Now: 31-year-old is back in the LOI captaining Limerick in their first season in the Premier Division in Thomond Park. He remains the last player to play for the ROI senior side while playing in the League of Ireland.
Then: 25-year-old had just left Cork City to join Reading (then in Premier League). He had yet to play in English football.
Now: Bennett is currently with AFC Wimbledon in League Two having bounced around Leagues One and Two since his only 2 Irish caps.
Then: Had signed for Championship side Wolves in January 2007 after impressing on loan from his home town Liverpool.
Now: The 28-year-old is a regular for League One MK Dons. He went on to win 5 Irish caps. The last in 2008
Then: 25-year-old Stephen had worked his way up from Brentford to Premier League Reading and was a regular. He gained notoriety in October 2006 by kicking Chelsea keeper Peter Cech in the head.
Now: A regular squad player with Wolves, Hunt has won over 30 caps since his 2007 Irish debut but has falling out of favour in recent times with the management
Then: A Premier League regular with Wigan and the holder of more than 80 caps for Ireland. Kilbane’s dedication to the Irish cause was unrivalled.
Now: Retired from playing in December after more than 600 club games in England and 110 caps for Ireland. He has starting a career in the media where his “all round nice guy” attitude seems to be playing well with the public.
Then: 18-year-old midfielder who was contracted to Wolves but spent the 2006/07 season with League Two Stockport County
Now: For the past 4 years Gleeson, now 24, has been a regular for League One side MK Dons. He has yet to add to the two caps won on tour.
Then: 26-year-old Corkman had moved from Celtic to Manchester United and on to Roy Keane’s Sunderland where he was a regular first team squad member. He first joined the Irish squad in 2004.
Now: Since 2011 Miller has been playing with Australian A League side Perth Glory. They lost the 2012 Grand final and were eliminated in first round of play offs this year.
Then: A 20-yea- old Notre Dame Fighting Irish Student, Lapira became the first amateur to play for the ROI senior side in over 40 years when he won his only cap against Ecuador. Lapira was easily the most talked about player on that tour.
Now: After being picked 35th in the 2008 MLS Draft, Lapira didn’t sign with the Toronto franchise. Instead he went travelling around popping up in the Indonesian second division at one stage. He’s currently playing in the Norwegian Third Tier with Nybergsund IL-Trysil
Then: Having left Waterford United in 2005 for Sunderland, Murphy had established himself as squad regular in the 2007 Championship winning team but he had to wait until the USA tour to win the first of his 8 Irish caps
Now: Murphy, now 30, is technically a Celtic player now but has spent the last 2 seasons on loan with Ipswich Town in the Championship.
Then: A regular goalscorer for League One side Scunthorpe United, he joined Wolves in January 2007. Another debut in that Ecuador game.
Now: Seemingly permanently out on loan from Wolves at various clubs, he signed Millwall in January 2012 for £500,000. Keogh has kept his place in Ireland squads since 2007 and scored the consolation goal in the 6-1 thumping by Germany. He has scored twice in 26 internationals.
Then: A League of Ireland product through St Patrick’s Athletic and Cork City, Doyle burst onto the English scene with Reading in 2005. He was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year in his first Premiership season in 2007.
Now: After over 50 caps, 29-year-old Doyle was controversially dropped for the recent World Cup qualifiers. He remains a regular with Wolves in the Championship, having spent most of his career in the Premier League.
Then: 20-year-old Reading starlet who was seen mainly as Doyle’s back up after his move from Cork City. Had made his debut in the infamous 2-1 win for Ireland in San Marino.
Now: A Premier League regular with West Brom and arguably Ireland’s best player. Until recently Trapattoni seemed reluctant to play him.
Then: Signed for Sunderland from Arsenal in January 2007 for £2 million on the back of a successful loan spell with Falkirk in the SPL.
Now: A bit part player with Celtic since 2010, Stokes has added only 1 cap to the 3 he earned in 2007. He continues to score goals in the SPL when fit & selected.
Then: A 22-year-old Newcastle United reserve player who had played 5 times in 3 years with the club. He made his debut in 2006 against the Netherlands before he had played in the Premier League
Now: 28-year-old playing with Hungerford Town in the 8th tier of English football (the Southern Football League Division One South & West)
Ireland drew both games 1-1 in case you're wondering.
So while some have pushed on to become top players, the majority have drifted away from the international scene. Will the Spanish game in June see a similarly experimental line up? We can only dream.