FAI sources said Giovanni Trapattoni had been on hand to say goodbye to the player when he left the team’s hotel in Montecatini at 10.30am yesterday but there were no further details of what transpired between the two after Foley had said he felt betrayed by the manager’s decision to drop him from Ireland’s squad.
The player was accompanied to the airport by two members of the FAI staff before catching his flight home.
Meanwhile, Stephen Kelly has been describing the mood in the Irish camp on Tuesday when Foley learned his fate.
“It was a really tough day,” said the Fulham defender.
“What can you say? Your heart just goes out to Kevin. He’s been in the squad for so long and to find out is very tough. Our thoughts have to be with him now, but it’s just very hard to take for a player.
“Sometimes things like this happen in football and you get down, but you just have to bounce back from it and he’s got great character. He’s a confident lad, but I’m sure he’s feeling down and we’ll all just rally around him and let him know that it’s not the end of things. Hopefully he can have a good summer.”
Of Foley’s response on Tuesday, Kelly remarked: “Anybody would be down when you get that news. You would be inhuman not to feel some sort of remorse about it and feel down, but he came back and played the second half [in a training game against a Tuscan side on Tuesday night] and he did well. He proved why he’s always been in the squad and why he’s been involved.”
Asked what his own words for his team-mate had been, Kelly replied: “I just said ‘sorry Kevin’. What can you say apart from ‘sorry to hear, I’m disappointed for you’? All you can say is sorry, but words are going to be empty for him now from all of us. All you do is put your arm around him and tell him to continue to keep on playing the way he does for his club. When he has played for Ireland he has performed admirably so he just needs to continue in that vein and hopefully he’ll come stronger.”
Kelly admitted Foley’s team-mates had also been shaken by the news. “We’re a very tight squad and so that makes this even tougher because we’ve been together a long time and are really close,” he said.
“It’s one of our friends in there who has been let go. You knew the manager was going to be faced with this kind of difficult decision going into the tournament because for most games the manager picks 26 or 27 players, so a lot of lads have been left out.
“My roommate Liam Lawrence isn’t here and we’ve been rooming together for the last four years, so people you’ve built up really good relationships with missed out. It’s so unfortunate for Kevin to have got this far and having been named in the original 23.”
And Richard Dunne suggested, the group’s focus on the Euros would not be disrupted by this week’s events.
“We’re such a tight unit and we don’t want to see anyone left out,” said the Aston Villa man. “But it’s very important that the manager makes these decisions and we trust him. It’s unfortunate for Kevin but we have to move on and Kevin will support us as he always does.”
There were no reports of injuries sustained in Tuesday night’s 5-0 warm-up win against a Tuscan selection. And with yesterday designated a free day for the Irish players, it will only be later today before there are any further updates on the likes of John O’Shea, Shay Given and Darren O’Dea.