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The Lost Boys Of Irish International Football, Where Are They Now?

Mikey Traynor
By Mikey Traynor
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As a nation we have handed out some pretty strange international caps over the years.

Many Irish football fans will fondly remember the experience of flicking through the match programme while watching the players warm up on the pitch, and wondering "Who the hell is he?". We got to know these players because we support the boys in green, but what happens when they stop receiving the international call?

We at Balls.ie set out to investigate the whereabouts of some of the lads who, often as late call-ups, filled out our national team's squads before drifting off into the sunset.

Stephen Elliot

Elliott made his international debut in November 2004 against Croatia at Landsdowne Road. At the time he was a hot prospect at Sunderland having arrived from Manchester City, and he hit 22 goals in 81 appearances for the Black Cats in what was without a doubt the most fruitful period of his career. Moves to Wolves and Preston North End followed before Elliott moved to Scotland where he netted 11 times in 56 appearances for Hearts. More recently he returned to England and cash strapped Coventry, before joining Carlisle United where he still plays today.

Update: Upon leaving Carlisle United, Elliot returned to Dublin to ply his trade for Shelbourne. However, his time at Tolka Parl was shortlived as he left the club by mutual consent. He has since joined us at Balls HQ, where he shared quite the tale about Roy Keane.

Dominic Foley

Limerick lad Foley had high expectations as a youngster at Wolves. A string of unsuccessful loans before a move to Watford, and more loans, were to follow, before Foley set off on a European adventure. Braga were the first destination, although Dominic only made 12 first team appearances before returning home to play for Bohs, but a move to Belgium followed and Gent offered Foley some stability as he bagged 29 goals in 103 games. Another pit-stop in Belgium with Cercle Brugge preceeded a move to his native Limerick where he retired in 2012. He was last seen commenting on this Balls.ie post about Gary Neville criticising Simon Mignolet's Merseyside Derby performance:

Update: As far we are led to believe, Foley is still enjoying retirement. But glad to know he tried his hand in a pick up game while at Watford.



Alan Maybury

Maybury made his name in Scottish football as a regular for Hearts from 2001-2005 before moving to Leicester City where he played for three years before returning to Scotland. He made 10 appearances for Ireland, and is now a player-coach at Falkirk.

Update: None. Maybury still remains in a coaching role at Falkirk two years later.

Liam Lawrence

One of the more recent internationals on this list, Lawrence has was a Premier League regular for both Stoke and Portsmouth, the latter of whom nearly dissolved as a football club which lead to Lawrence fleeing to Greece and PAOK to play his football. A return to England with Barnsley followed, and Lawrence is now playing for Shrewsbury Town in League 2.


Update: At 35 years old, Lawrence is still playing at a decent level. However, the former Irish international left Shrewsbury for Bristol Rovers, who are currently in League One.

Alan Bennett


Bennett was another who made the trip from the Eircom League to Reading. He bounced around the divisions in England on loan before settling in League 2, first with Cheltenham Town, and lately with AFC Wimbledon who is still currently playing for. He made two appearances for Ireland.

Update: Alan Bennet returned to Cork City in 2015 before lifting the FAI Cup final in the Aviva Stadium a year later. Fitting.



Alan O'Brien

Pacey winger O'Brien was a highly regarded prospect at Newcastle, but had to move to Scotland to secure first team football with Hibs. After making five appearances for Ireland, O'Brien slowly disappeared down the lower leagues in England, and he has been playing for Hungerford Town in the Evo-Stik Southern League, one level below Conference football, since 2012.

Update: O'Brien went from making his international debut against the Netherlands in 2006 to playing football with Hungerford Town six years later - where he has remained since.

Caleb Folan

Folan's career map is fantastic. After making a name for himself with Chesterfield, Folan announced himself on the radar of Irish football with his impact at Wigan, where he won enough flick-ons to be determined a suitable strike partner for Robbie Keane in an Ireland shirt. A good spell at Hull where he bundled in 11 goals in 55 games was followed by some serious globe-trotting. After paving the way for Irish players in the MLS with the Colorado Rapids, Folan moved to Mayalsia to play for Kuala Terengganu. A 6 game stint with Bradford in 2013 was followed by another move to North America to join FC Edmonton in the NASL, which prompted a local reporter writing this about the former Ireland target-man:


To call him nomadic would not be accurate. Caleb Folan is more like a voyageur, a frontiersman, a free spirit unbound by borders. Oh, and a dedicated footballer, too.

via Edmonton Sun.

Update: Last spotted playing football in Myanmar.

Martin Rowlands

Rowlands was a QPR player for almost a decade, making almost 200 appearances for the R's, just before they got an injection of cash that brought them back to the Premier League. His career with the London club came to an end after he never fully recovered from a bad knee injury sustained on Ireland duty against Montenegro in 2009. He now plays for Aldershot Town the Conference Premier.

Update: Rowlands has since retired but was inducted into the Brentford hall of fame earlier this year.

Jonathan Douglas

Monaghan born Douglas caught the attention of Irish football fans for his performances in the middle of the park for Leeds from 2005-2009, but he never quite got going in an Ireland shirt. The hair-band wearing defensive midfielder made eight appearances for Ireland and has always enjoyed some stability in his club career, which will come as a surprise to those who only saw him play for Ireland. He now plays for Brentford, where he has been since 2011.

Update: Douglas plays under the guidance of Mick McCarthy at Ipswich, alongside Leon Best and David McGoldrick.

See also: The Irish Unfulfilled Potential XI

See also: The All Time Premier League XI Of Irish Players You Forgot Existed


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