Glenn Whelan said he was never going to turn his back on his country once the unexpected call-up came.
It seemed as though the veteran midfielder’s career was over after he won his 85th cap last year, but manager Mick McCarthy offered him a way back.
The 35-year-old played the full 90 minutes in the 1-0 win over Georgia at the Aviva Stadium, offering a comforting presence, sitting deep in midfield and protecting his back four.
"It’s a real honour to play for my country so it was never anything I was going to turn my back on," he said, speaking to RTÉ Sport.
"I got the phone call to come back in, to push these young lads on and show them how good it is to play in front of these fans. I’ll always do my best."
Ireland took the lead late in the first half of McCarthy's return game at the Aviva Stadium thanks to a well-hit Conor Hourihane free-kick. It was no less than they deserved, though they found themselves on the back foot more after the break.
Whelan was full of praise for his Aston Villa team-mate, who scored his first international goal, though he admits the team still have plenty to learn.
"First half I thought we did really well and second half they came out on top," said the Dublin. "But we had a goal lead and something to hold on to. We have things to work on, but it was nice to give something back to the fans.
"I play week-in, week-out with Conor and he’s done that before. I know the last few weeks have been a bit difficult (for Ireland), but the confidence will come.
"Two wins from two, we’ll take that. Difficult opposition, but two clean sheets in two banana-skin games and we have six points."
Ireland are top of Euro 2020 qualifying group D following wins over Gibraltar and Georgia after Switzerland and Denmark played out a dramatic three-all draw.