That night in Lille: where are the Ireland team now?

The 22 of June 2016. The Republic of Ireland need a win over Antonio Conte’s Italy side to qualify for the knockout stages at the Euros for the first time.

With five minutes to go, Wes Hoolahan picks up the ball on the right, cuts back on his left foot and produces a perfect cross for Robbie Brady to finish past Salvatore Sirigu. Five years on, where are the boys in green who, in the words of George Hamilton, brought “us all to our feet in Lille”?

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Darren Randolph

The ever-reliable goalkeeper is currently at West Ham United having moved to Middlesbrough in 2017, before making his return to the London Stadium in January 2020.

Séamus Coleman

An incredible servant for both club and country, Coleman remains at Everton and is still as influential as ever in the right back position.

Shane Duffy

Euro 2016 was a breakout tournament for Duffy, who at the time was playing his club football with Blackburn Rovers. By the end of the summer transfer window, he signed for Brighton and played an influential role in their promotion to the Premier League. In 2020, Duffy signed for Celtic on a season long loan, which was cut short and saw Duffy return to Brighton in May.

Richard Keogh

Keogh was a significant part of Martin O’Neil’s defence in the run up to Euro 2016, most notably in the tie with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Having spent seven years at Derby County, Keogh left the club in 2019. Keogh then signed for MK Dons after a year out of football, but only made 21 appearances for the club. He returned to the Championship in January, signing for Huddersfield Town on a short-term contract and is currently in talks with Huddersfield over a contract extension.

Stephen Ward

Ward was at Burley in the run up to Euro 2016 and remained at the club until 2019. He then signed for Championship side Stoke City but only made 15 appearances. He moved to League One side Ipswich Town for one season and was released in May. The Portmarnock man retired from international football in 2019.

James McCarthy

McCarthy signed for Crystal Palace in 2019 following a lack of game time and long injury spells at Everton. He was released by Palace at the end of the 2020-21 season after 49 appearances for the Eagles.

James McClean

McCLean has been Ireland’s most consistent performer since Euro 2016 and highlighted his importance to the squad over the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign. He scored crucial goals in Vienna and Cardiff which brought Ireland to touching distance of their first World Cup in 16 years, only to fall short in a playoff to Denmark. McLean left West Brom in 2018 and joined Stoke City. He has featured over 100 times for the Potters and recently won their 2020 player of the year award.

Jeff Hendrick

One of Ireland’s stand out players of the 2016 tournament, Hendrick secured a move to Premier League side Burnley straight after the Euros. He spent four seasons at the Clarets before running his contract down in 2020. Hendrick then signed for Newcastle as a free agent in the Summer, making 22 appearances last season.

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Robbie Brady

Not only did Brady score the most important goal of the Euros campaign, but he also netted a crucial away goal in Bosnia and Herzegovina that nobody really saw. Remember that thick fog! Brady impressed with Norwich City after the tournament which subsequently earned him a move to Burnley for a record fee of £13 million in 2017. Brady has since spent the last four years at Turf Moor, with the former St. Kevin’s player now a free agent following the end of his contract in May.

Daryl Murphy

The striker has played at four different clubs since Euro 2016. He joined Newcastle from Ipswich in 2016, making only fifteen appearances for the Magpies. Murphy then joined Nottingham Forest for two seasons until 2019 and played a season in League one with Bolton Wanderers. After fifteen years, Murphy returned to his home club of Waterford United and now occupies his trade in the League of Ireland. He announced his retirement from international football in 2018.

Shane Long

The Tipperary striker has provided Irish fans with several memories over the years, with goals against England at Wembley and Germany at the Aviva Stadium being the standouts. Long has spent the last seven years at Southampton and also spent the second half of last season on-loan at Bournemouth. He returned to Southampton at the end of his loan spell, making eleven appearances for the Cherries.

Aiden McGeady

The winger is currently at Sunderland but has recently went out on-loan to both Preston North End and Charlton Athletic. McGeady last played for Ireland in 2017 and was talked about as a possible inclusion in Stephen Kenny’s last squad.

Wes Hoolahan

The talented midfielder left Norwich City in 2018 following a remarkable 323 appearances for the Canaries. Hoolahan then went on to have short spells at West Brom and the Newcastle jets before returning to England in 2020. He signed for Cambridge United and recently earnt promotion to League one. Hoolahan retired from international football in 2018.

Stephen Quinn

The midfielder was recently released by Burton Albion. Quinn spent three years at Reading before his move to Burton in 2018. He also had a loan spell at Mansfield last season and has now signed a one year contract with Mansfield for next year. Quinn has not featured for Ireland since 2016.

The Author

Dylan Kerrigan

Journalism student and aspiring sports journalist.

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