Ireland's Stephen Ward has announced his international retirement.

The former Bohs defender was called-up into Mick McCarthy's first provisional squad earlier this month.

However he didn't make this afternoon's final squad for upcoming qualifiers with Gibraltar and Georgia, and his decision to call it a day was confirmed late on Thursday night.

"It’s with a heavy heart that I have decided to retire from international football," said Ward. 

"To represent my country has been a dream come true and the biggest honour I could have had," said Ward.

"To play in a couple of major championships has been the highlight and the night we beat Italy at the 2016 Euros will live with me for the rest of my life.

"I have been very proud to have played a part in those achievements and I feel this is a good time to move on. There are a lot of good young players and new talent coming through and I wish all of them, Mick [McCarthy] and the staff all the best for the future.

"I’d like to thank everyone – managers, players, backroom staff I’ve worked with and the supporters – and say it was a pleasure to work with each and every one of them."

The Burnley player made his Ireland senior debut against Northern Ireland in 2011, where he also scored in that game.

Ireland manager McCarthy added:

"I signed Stephen [Ward] first from Bohemians and worked with him at Wolves, and I'm kind of sad that I don't get to work with him with Ireland but he's made his decision and I can understand it.

"He has had 50 caps and he can retire being proud of that achievement. I'm really proud to have worked with him because he was a really good player for me and for Ireland.

"Even though we bought Wardy as a striker, I remember the day that I put him at left-back, at Charlton Athletic, and he was outstanding, and I kept picking him there after that. He's had a really good career there and I'm sad to see him go but he wanted to be fair to me, fair to the other players, and fair to himself."