HISTORY was made on Tuesday night as Chiedozie Ogbene became the first African-born player to play for the Republic of Ireland national side.
The 24-year-old came on with just a few minutes to play as Hungary and Ireland played out a goalless draw in Budapest.
Despite the historic moment for Ogbene, the game was marred by pre-match controversy surrounding Ireland's decision to 'take the knee' in support of the fight against racism in football.
As the referee blew his whistle, Irish players dropped to one knee in unison, which was greeted by a chorus of boos from some 7,000 Hungarian supporters in the stadium.
Notably, the Hungarian players chose not to 'take the knee' before kick-off, with a handful a player choosing to point to the 'respect' badge on the sleeve of their jerseys instead.
Taking the knee has become an extremely divisive gesture, particularly in England where Gareth Southgate's side were booed by their own fans in recent friendlies over their decision to do so.
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) June 9, 2021
Southgate penned an open letter to England supporters on Tuesday evening, insisting that his team won't stop making the gesture in the face of supporter protest.
But in spite of the controversy, the landmark moment for Ogbene shouldn't be forgotten.
Speaking after the game, Ireland's latest debutant said it was "truly a blessing" to etched into history as Ireland's first African-born player.
"To be titled the first African-born [to play for Ireland], I'm really blessed and it's a huge honour," Ogbene said.
"It's a big moment for myself and my family ... I want to inspire any young player, most importantly being from League of Ireland, coming from that tough structure of football, and just to showcase, if you believe and never give up, what can happen."
Born in Nigeria, Ogbene moved to Ireland with his family in 2005, when he was eight-years-old. He settled in the Grange area of Cork, and ended up signing for Cork City in 2015.
Later he joined Limerick before sealing a move to Championship side Brentford in 2018.
The winger now plies his trade with Rotherham United, who were relegated to League One last season.