A brief but entertaining history of Eamon Dunphy's undying love for Wes Hoolahan
Wes Hoolahan's international career is over. The 35-year-old midfielder announced Thursday morning that it was time to 'move aside,' as he followed Daryl Murphy into retirement.
The former Shelbourne man earned 43 caps for the Republic of Ireland after making his debut under Giovanni Trapattoni in 2008.
"I had a great two campaigns with Ireland and the Euros in France was an amazing experience," the Norwich playmaker said. "I spoke to Martin O’Neill last week and he accepted my decision. He didn’t try and talk me around, he knew my mind was made up and it was time to go."
The announcement received a strong response, mainly because Hoolahan always seemed like one of Ireland's more technically proficient players, a late-bloomer who showed flickers of genius without fully establishing himself as an indispensable member of the national team, for one reason or another.
Mostly, Irish fans were just really depressed on Twitter.
But, through the mourning, it provided the perfect opportunity to revisit a classic moment in which Eamon Dunphy and Liam Brady have a bet over whether or not Hoolahan would start against the second leg of Ireland's Euro 2016 play-off against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Hoolahan started and Jonathan Walters was the two-goal hero who sent us to France.
Of course, it wasn't the only time Dunphy launched an impassioned defence of Hoolahan. When Martin O'Neill left the midfielder on the bench during the 1-1 with Georgia, the pundit said it was 'an insult' to leave him out of the starting line-up.
Again, it was great TV watching Dunphy tear into O'Neill for 'ignoring an outstanding player who makes the team tick.'
When O'Neill opted not to start him for the crucial World Cup play-off against Denmark at the Aviva, this was Dunphy's response:
“He’s been left out wilfully and stupidly all through the campaign and that tells you something about Martin O’Neill’s football values. If we had had him on the pitch when we were 1-0 up, we wouldn’t have lost control of the game as easily as we did because we would have had the ball more.”
Ahead of kick-off that night against the Danes, Dunphy couldn't help but mention Hoolahan being in the team for the win in Austria. 2:26 in the video below.
Of course, even when Hoolahan wasn't fully fit, like when Ireland took on Poland during the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, Dunphy still wanted him in the line-up.
"You don't know what you're talkin' about - I played the game for 17 years!"
When Ireland drew 0-0 away in Sweden under Trapattoni in March 2013, Dunphy was again on the attack, saying that the Italian wouldn't start Hoolahan three days later against Austria. He was right, but Ireland still managed to score two goals despite starting Conor Sammon in attack.
Irish Independent journalist Aidan O'Hara posted a photo on Twitter showing a very young Hoolahan shaking Dunphy's hand. Their mutual bond goes way back.
When Eamon met Weso. What a pic via @buzzer_rowe10 pic.twitter.com/QXbL0eW82K
— aidan o'hara (@oharaa) October 12, 2015
Eamonn Dunphy calls on the government for a month of mourning starting today.#weshoolahan
— Dustin The Turkey (@DustinOfficial) February 8, 2018
Right, enough of Dunphy. We'll leave you with Wes' sweetly-struck half-volley against Sweden with added Titanic music. It was the Euros, in Paris, in front of 80,000, and he was found with a lovely clipped ball by Seamus Coleman.
It's the perfect goal.
It was inevitable that Wes would call it a day with Ireland. Some great moments in the green jersey and could have been a lot more if he'd be given a few more chances. He'll always have this though: https://t.co/Gz7qpKN0WD
— Phil Egan (@philegansport) February 8, 2018
And we can't forget about his pinpoint cross to pick out Robbie Brady in the goal that sunk Italy.