Carr quits Ireland
By Peter ORourke. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Republic of Ireland defender Stephen Carr has announced his international retirement.
The Newcastle ace believes the time is right to quit the international scene after Ireland's failure to qualify for next summer's World Cup finals.
Carr is the third player to quit Ireland following the decisions by Roy Keane and Kenny Cunningham to announce their international retirements.
The full back's decision comes as something of a surprise as he is still only 29 and has only won 39 caps for his country.
"I have made my decision, and there is no going back for me now," Carr told Newcastle's official website.
"I just feel the time is right to call it a day with Ireland. It was disappointing for the squad, the manager, and the whole country that we didn't qualify for the World Cup.
"I would have loved to have represented my country in Germany next summer and maybe called it quits after that, but it wasn't to be.
"Failing to qualify for the World Cup was a huge disappointment for me personally. I missed the last World Cup because of injury, and this time we ended up finishing fourth in the group so we didn't go through.
"I think it's time for me to stand aside now, and let some of the younger lads coming through have the opportunity to play for Ireland.
"I'll be 34 the next time the World Cup comes around and at that stage of my career I wouldn't feel as though I could do myself or Ireland justice in the competition should we get through.
"This has been a tough decision for me to make, but I have no doubt it is the correct one for everyone concerned."
Carr also voiced his support for under-fire Ireland manager Brian Kerr.
Kerr's position has been the subject of intense speculation in recent days following Ireland's failure to reach the finals, but Carr hopes the Football Association of Ireland keep faith with Kerr.
"Brian has done a fantastic job and I sincerely hope he is allowed to continue as manager," added Carr.
"I hope the FAI give him their full backing and a new contract because he deserves it.
"It was difficult for him to take over from Mick McCarthy after the 2002 World Cup, but he has brought some good players through and is very popular with the squad.
"I think people should lay off him and support him as the squad regroups."