Stephen Kelly: This is not the end for axed Ireland defender Kevin Foley

The Fulham defender admits that the exclusion of his team-mate Kevin Foley was difficult for entire squad but believes that the Wolves full back will 'take it on the chin'
Ireland full back Stephen Kelly has stated that it was a 'tough day' for the entire squad when the news of Kevin Foley's exclusion from the final Euro 2012 squad filtered through.

Foley was dropped from the final 23 at the 11th hour by Giovanni Trapattoni, 30 minutes before the Uefa imposed deadline on Tuesday.

“Anybody who is going to get that would want to be inhuman not to feel remorse about it," Kelly told the Irish Times. "But he went and played the second half [against the Tuscany XI] and did well and proved why he has always been in the squad.

“It was a really tough day,” Kelly acknowledged. “We got the news earlier on. What do you say? Your heart just goes out to him. He has been in for so long and to find out is very tough on him."

The Fulham defender reminded reporters that such was the nature of football and disappointment was to be expected at all levels in the game. However, the Dubliner stressed his belief that Foley would undoubtedly be back in the squad.

“Our thoughts go out to him now but it’s very hard to take in as a player. Sometimes that happens in football and you get down.

“But I am sure he will bounce back because he is a great character and he is a confident lad," remarked Kelly. "But I’m sure he is down so we are all rallying around him. He knows that this is not the end of it.

“I just said, ‘Sorry Kevin’. What can you say? Just said that I was sorry and that I was disappointed for him.

“I knew any words from us were going to be empty so we just put our arms around him. Hopefully he will come back a stronger player after this.
“We have all been in this together for a long time. It is one of our friends now who has been let go so it is hard to take."

Kelly also pointed to the example of Liam Lawrence, the Portsmouth midfielder who had been a regular under Trapattoni during the previous qualification campaign only to find himself excluded from recent squads.

“My room-mate, Liam Lawrence, isn’t here and we have been rooming for the last four years," said Kelly. "So, you know, people you have built so many good relationships with have missed out and it is so unfortunate for Kevin to have got this far. And to be named in the original 23 probably makes it more hurtful to him.”

Despite the disappointment felt in the squad and the emotionally difficult nature of Foley's late exclusion, Kelly stated his conviction that there are positives nonetheless, in the form of strengthening the resolve of the squad.

“Stuff like this does bring you close together because you kind of realise how fragile it all is," he said. "Something like that can change the dynamic and we are a really, really close team.

“It is something he will take on the chin and get on with his career. All we can do is say sorry and give him a pat on the back and that’s it really,” concluded Kelly.