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Ireland rules out Republic return

14 November 09 14:29 GMT

Manchester City midfield Stephen Ireland has said that he never enjoyed playing for the Republic of Ireland.

Ireland has been in self-imposed international exile for two years and now appears to have ruled out a return to Republic duty.

"No manager would sway my decision now," he said, ahead of the Republic's World Cup play-off against France.

"Even if they get to the World Cup, there's not a part of me that will think 'that could have been me'."

Ireland pulled out of the Republic squad prior to a Euro 2008 qualifier against the Czech Republic in September 2007 and he has not played for his country since then.

He withdrew from the squad for the Prague game, initially citing the passing of his maternal grandmother, and then the death of his paternal one, before it emerged that his girlfriend had suffered a miscarriage.

The Manchester City star was also scornful of Giovanni Trapattoni's attempts to convince him to return to the Republic set-up.

"They haven't tried properly to get me back. It's just lip service.

"Trapattoni rang me during the summer but it was more about him covering his back and having a press conference where he could say: 'I've made the effort, I've spoken to Stephen, blah-blah'."

Echoing comments made by Roy Keane a number of years ago, Ireland also argued that players from Dublin were favoured in the national team set-up over players from Cork.

"They pick all the Dublin lads, one or two Cork lads, and the Cork lads are thrown on the back seat and that's basically it.

"It's just wrong. It's not fair because a lot of great players go other ways because of it.

"Even when I was younger, I didn't want to go training there.

"I was looking for excuses but I had to go because I wasn't cross-channel at the time so I thought it was important for my career to go."

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