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Selecting An XI Of Republic Of Ireland One-Cap Wonders

Selecting An XI Of Republic Of Ireland One-Cap Wonders
By Gary Connaughton

Carving out a career in international football is not easy. It takes an incredible amount of talent and commitment to reach that level.

Even for those who do manage to get an international cap, there is no guarantee that further appearances will follow. These lads can attest to that.

We have put together a Republic of Ireland one-cap wonder XI, featuring players who managed only a solitary appearance at international level.

Here's what we came up with.

* The likes of Nathan Collins, Will Keane, and Michael Obafemi have been excluded as you would expect them to add to their one international cap in the years ahead.

Republic of Ireland One-Cap Wonder XI

GK: Keith Branagan

Making his only Ireland appearance against Wales in 1997, Keith Branagan probably would have earned quite a few more Ireland caps in most other eras.

He made over 200 league appearances for Bolton over an eight year period in the 90s, including in a League Cup final and two campaigns as first choice in the Premier League.

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Unfortunately, competition from the likes of Shay Given, Dean Kiely, and Alan Kelly meant that he was unable to add to his solitary international appearance.

RB: Jim Goodwin

Playing slightly out of position in this team, Jim Goodwin carved out a fantastic near 20-year career in the English lower leagues and Scotland, retiring in 2019.

His only Ireland appearance came in 2002 against Finland, having just joined Stockport County from Celtic. While he would go on to captain the Irish U21 side in the years that followed, that would be his only cap for the senior side.

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Goodwin is now carving out an excellent career in management, being appointed as Aberdeen manager last week having previously impressed at St Mirren.

CB: Andy Boyle

Andy Boyle played a key role in Dundalk's brilliant run under Stephen Kenny, earning a move to Preston North End in 2017. His one and only Ireland cap would come a few months later, coming on as a second half substitute in a 1-0 friendly loss to Iceland.

Things would not really work out for the defender at Deepdale, taking in loan spells at the likes of Doncaster Rovers and Dundee before rejoining the League of Ireland side in 2019.

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While he is still only 30-years old, further international call-ups look unlikely as things stand.

 

CB: Paul Butler

English-born centre back Paul Butler was 27-years old when he made his Ireland against the Czech Republic debut back in 2000, qualifying to play for the country via the fact that his step-father's father was born in Dublin.

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He had impressed for Sunderland in the few seasons prior to that, helping them earn successive promotions from the Second Division to the Premier League.

Spells at Wolves and Leeds would follow, although he was unable to establish himself at international level.

LB: Mike Milligan

Coming through the ranks at Oldham Athletic, Mike Milligan would also spend time at Everton, Norwich City, and Blackpool over the course of his career. A few of those seasons were spent in the Premier League, with his solitary international cap coming as a substitute for Denis Irwin in a friendly victory over the USA in 1992.

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He would spend another decade in the game after that.

RM: Mickey Evans

A striker by trade, Mickey Evans will be forced to do a job on the wing in this side.

Coming through the ranks at Plymouth Argyle, Evans did well in the lower leagues with the club, helping them to earn promotion from Third Division in 1996. That helped to convince Graeme Souness to fork out £650,000 to bring him to Southampton nine months later, scoring four goals for the club as they avoided relegation from the Premier League.

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His only Ireland cap came a few months later, playing five minutes off the bench in a qualifier against Romania.

CM: Michael Doyle

Now 40-years old, Dubliner Michael Doyle is still on the books as a player at Notts County. However, he has not made an appearance this season and has mostly been focusing on his role as a coach at the club.

He had just made a breakthrough at Coventry City when he made his Ireland debut back in 2004, playing in a victory over The Netherlands in Amsterdam.

That would be Doyle's only appearance at that level, although he would have quite the career with the likes of Sheffield United and Portsmouth after leaving Coventry in 2011.

CM: Owen Coyle

Another forward playing out of position, Owen Coyle is probably more remembered for his managerial exploits than playing ones by many in this country.

In saying that, the former Burnley and Bolton manager would win one cap for Ireland back in 1994. The Scot admitted he was not good enough to play for the country of his birth and threw his lot in with Ireland instead, although his only appearance would come in a friendly against The Netherlands.

LM: Joe Lapira

The one-cap wonder to beat all others, Joe Lapira is often pointed to as a summary of everything that was wrong with the Steve Staunton era.

The American-born collegiate player was called up to train with the squad during the ill-fated tour of the USA back in 2007, although nobody expected him to actually get on the pitch. He would play against Ecuador a few days later, becoming the first amateur player to feature for Ireland since 1964.

Lapira would go on to have a limited career in the game, spending most of his time in the lower league of Norwegian football before hanging up his boots altogether while still in his mid-20s.

 

ST: Richie Sadlier

If it weren't for his injury issues, Richie Sadlier would certainly have added to his one Ireland cap.

The Millwall forward was set to be included in Mick McCarthy's 2002 World Cup squad, only for injury to rule him out of the tournament. He would never really recover from this point on, making only a handful of appearances at club level before retiring in 2004.

ST: Jon Macken

Jon Macken had a very impressive spell with Preston North End, so much so that it convinced Manchester City to pay £5million for his services in 2002.

His only Ireland cap would come two years later, qualifying to play for the country through his Cavan-born grandparents. He would come off the bench for the final 30 minutes of a 1-1 friendly draw with Bulgaria.

With his form beginning to dip at this point, he would not manage to add to that appearance.

 

The Team In Full

SEE ALSO: Inspirational Chloe Mustaki Overcame Injuries And Cancer To Make Ireland Debut

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