Thursday, May 30, 2024

Questions asked as Ireland star quits international football after just handful of caps

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Sinead Farrelly’s brief Ireland career came to an end yesterday after the American-born midfielder announced her retirement from international football.

The gifted 34-year-old made eight appearances for Ireland, including starting all three of the World Cup games in Australia last summer, after she had completed the paperwork to switch allegiances from the USA. She made her debut in a friendly against the US in Austin a year ago.

Farrelly will continue to play for her club, NY/NJ Gotham in the NWSL, having come off the bench against Racing Louisville at the weekend, but her shock retirement will be a huge bow to Ireland head coach Eileen Gleeson, as Farrelly’s ability to hold onto the ball was sorely missed in the opening Euro 2025 qualifiers against France and England.

Sinead Farrelly of Republic of Ireland during the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Group B match between Australia and Republic of Ireland at Stadium Australia in Sydney, Australia. Pic: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

When Farrelly missed last September’s Nations League games against Northern Ireland and Hungary, it was pointed out that the long-haul transatlantic flights were causing the injury-plagued midfielder to suffer back spasms, but no reason was given for what she called a ‘difficult decision’ in yesterday’s statement released by the FAI.

Pic: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Pic: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

‘It is with a tremendous amount of sadness that I’ve made the difficult decision to retire from international football,’ the 34-year-old said. ‘Even though I was a latecomer to international football, it meant so much to me and my family.

‘I’d like to thank Vera Pauw and Eileen Gleeson, all of the backroom and support staff, every player I was proud to call a teammate and of course, the amazing Irish supporters who welcomed me with open arms.’

The Ireland boss thanked Farrelly for her time representing the country and wished her all the best in the future.

Sinead Farrelly
Sinead Farrelly of Republic of Ireland during the women’s international friendly match between Republic of Ireland and France at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Pic: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Three years ago, it was Farrelly and her former Portland Thorns teammate Mana Shim who blew the whistle on their former coach Paul Riley and his sexually coercive behaviour. Riley was promptly sacked and the NWSL initiated a league-wide investigation in coaching.

Farrelly’s comeback to club football led to an enquiry from Pauw, the former Ireland manager, and ensured that the talented midfielder got to grace the game’s biggest stage for her father’s native country.

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