Mick McCarthy's international service spanned three decades and saw him climb the ladder from international novice to team captain and then finally into the manager's chair. Born in Barnsley on February 7 1959. He started his career at his hometown club helping them gain promotion from the old English fourth division to the old second division in successive years, before moving to Manchester City in 1983. The following year, Eoin Hand awarded the no-nonsense defender the first of his 57 caps against Poland at Dalymount Park.
In 1987, McCarthy moved to Celtic and won the league and cup double in his first season. He was an influential member of the Ireland team that competed in the European Championships in 1988.
After winning another Scottish Cup with Celtic in 1989, he moved to Lyon in France. However, the move wasn't successful and he returned to England with Millwall. The highlight of his career came in 1990 when he captained Ireland at the World Cup finals.
Injuries disrupted the remainder of his playing days, and in 1991, he was appointed manager of Millwall. He turned the London club into one of the best footballing sides in Division One, but promotion always eluded him, and when the FAI began their search for a manager to replace Jack Charlton, it was to McCarthy they turned.
The team he inherited was in a transitional period and results were patchy at first, though over his six-year tenure in charge, he had greater success than Jack Charlton, when the two managers results are compared. Ireland missed out on qualification for the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championships after play-off defeats with Belgium and Turkey respectively. However, McCarthy's team did magnificently to qualify for the 2002 World Cup by finishing ahead of Holland in the group stages and then beating Iran in the play-offs.
At the World Cup, Ireland had a distracting build-up with Roy Keane returning home but they survived before eventually going out in the second phase of the competition on penalties against Spain. After a disappointing start to the Euro 2004 qualification campaign, and with what the manager termed "outside influences" affecting the team, he decided to resign in the best interests of the team.