Brentford's John Egan remembered his late father, Kerry great John, on the night he became the first son of an All-Ireland senior football winner to play for the Republic of Ireland.
Egan started at the heart of the home defence alongside Alex Pearce against Iceland in a changed-up Ireland line-up that blooded plenty of fresh faces.
A disappointing 1-0 defeat followed, but for Egan, it remained a night of pride and emotion. His father - who won six Sam Maguires in a glorious career with the Kingdom - passed away aged 59 five years ago.
"He would have been proud out," the 24-year-old told RTÉ Sport.
"Tonight's a night when you kind of miss him a bit more because you'd have loved to have seen him here.
"But the rest of my family were here and I think they enjoyed it.
"It's a massive honour for me to make my debut and a very proud moment for us.
"It's something I've always dreamed of. It's just a pity we couldn't get the win."
"Tonight's a night when you kind of miss him a bit more."
The centre-back conceded the free-kick on the edge of the box that allowed Hordur Magnusson to score Iceland's winner but otherwise was reasonably satisfied with his contribution.
"It's disappointing to lose the game.
"For my first game, I probably should have maybe done a bit better but I think I did well enough overall.
"I need to keep the head down now, keep working hard at club level and try to get into future squads."
The game may have been a dour affair, but it was one to remember for others too at the Aviva Stadium.
"At this moment in time we probably come in a package!" Andy Boyle quipped after he capped a fairytale year by making his international debut alongside Daryl Horgan, who has shared every step of an incredible journey.
The pair starred in Dundalk's Europa League odyssey and march to a third Airtricity League Premier Division title on the bounce before both were snapped up by Preston North End last December.
Boyle and Horgan have impressed at Deepdale, and their stars continue to soar after they earned their first caps for the Republic of Ireland in the 1-0 defeat to Iceland on Tuesday night.
"I suppose the two of us are doing well at club level and to get our international debuts together on the same night is special," centre-half Boyle told RTÉ Sport.
"It's a great feeling to get a first international cap. It's something that as a kid you dream of, playing for your country.
"The past year has been a bit of a whirlwind in the sense of what we did at club level with Dundalk and then obviously the move to Preston, and to cap it off with a first international cap, it's been an amazing year."
Corkman Conor Hourihane has also enjoyed a progressive 12 months.
He earned a January move to Aston Villa after consistently catching the eye with Barnsley, and was relieved to get his debut in green done and dusted.
"I was a bit nervous going out there, but I thought I did okay," he said.
"It's nice to get the first one under the belt and hopefully I can crack on from here. I thought we passed the ball around okay, even though we didn't create a great deal of chances.
"There wasn't much in the game. They didn't create anything, we didn't really create much until Daryl Horgan came on.
"It's nice to get my first start; hopefully there'll be many more to come.
"It's a disappointing result; you dream of it being a fairytale and all that kind of stuff, but sometimes it doesn't go that way."