Former Ipswich keeper Supple called up by Republic of Ireland... nine years after giving up football

Shane Supple has been called up to the Republic of Ireland squad. Picture: Alex Fairfull

Shane Supple has been called up to the Republic of Ireland squad. Picture: Alex Fairfull - Credit: Archant

Former Ipswich Town goalkeeper Shane Supple has been called up to the Republic of Ireland squad for the first time.

Supple, pictured playing Gaelic football for St Brigids. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Supple, pictured playing Gaelic football for St Brigids. Picture: Caroline Quinn - Credit: Archant

Supple, now aged 31 and playing for Bohemians in the League of Ireland, has been called up by manager Martin O’Neill for friendlies against the United States and France later this summer.

It is some turnaround, after Supple quit football in 2009 after admitting he had fallen out of love with the sport after making 38 appearances for the Blues.

He returned to Ireland, went back into education and planned to join the Gardai - Ireland’s state police - before a recruitment freeze scuppered that plan. He revived his Gaelic football career with St Brigid’s.

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He founded a goalkeeping academy that held sessions at Leinster Senior League side Crumlin Town and, when they suffered something of a goalkeeping crisis in 2015, he felt duty bound to help out.


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From there he joined Bohemians in 2016 and impressed O’Neill during a clash with Dundalk last week.

His journey back to football has now taken a new turn, following his international call-up, which comes at a time when Darren Randolph, Rob Elliot and Keiren Westwood are all missing through injury. He will now provide competition for Colin Doyle of Bradford and Peterborough’s Conor O’Malley.

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He left Ipswich at a time when Roy Keane was the Blues’ manager and will be reunited with his former boss when he reports for duty, with Keane the current Ireland assistant manager.

Speaking soon after he opted to leave Portman Road in September 2009, Supple said; “It’s something that I have been thinking about for a long while.

“It’s obviously a big decision but I feel that playing professional football is not something I want to continue doing as a career.

“There is no one reason why I have made my decision, there are a number of factors, but deep down my heart is not in the game anymore and I’m not going to go into work every day trying to convince myself that it is so it’s the right time for me to walk away.

“I want to thank the manager (Roy Keane) for the support he has given me. He was a bit shocked when I told him and I expected that but he understood my reasons. He’s been first class.

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“People probably think I’m crazy but I’m not going to stay in the game for anyone else, I’m making this decision for myself.”

When asked recently if he could ever see himself returning to England, Supple said: “I want to play as long as I can but I think that’s going to be in the League of Ireland. Even if anybody was interested, I can’t see it happening.

“I’m happy now.”

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