The controversy surrounding Ireland's World Cup 2010 playoff tilt began well before Thierry Henry got his mitts anywhere near the ball.

With Ireland bound for the playoffs for the first time since 2001, FIFA decided, disturbingly late in the day, that the draw would be seeded. 

The decision naturally provoked conspiracy theories that FIFA were determined to engineer a situation where the bigger countries would make it to South Africa. 

The campaign had begun on a wave of relative goodwill, the public giddily excited by the appointment of Giovanni Trapattoni in spring 2008. 

Most had assumed, in the wake of the Steve Staunton business, that the 'world-class manager' talk from the FAI was just standard executive-class bluster. 

But here was a genuine world-class, borderline legendary manager with a proper global profile. Trap was, and remains in trophy terms, the most successful manager in the history of Serie A. Only the few hard-edged iconoclasts were minded to point out that winning a spate of league titles with Juventus in the '80s wasn't exactly water into wine stuff. 

Trap restored order and a semblance of shape to the team, after the chaos of the Staunton years, and Ireland once more became desperately hard to beat. 

The early enthusiasm curdled somewhat over the course of the campaign when it became apparent just how defensive he was and how little he trusted the Irish players to play ball. The shape he re-imposed on the team would quickly become a little too rigid for people's liking. 

This wouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone who knew of his reputation and past record. 

Trap had been pathologically defensive when in charge of his native country in the early noughties and that was with players everyone agreed were reasonably good. 

German football journalist Raphael Honigstein remembered his spell in charge of Bayern Munich as being one in which Trap won the Bundesliga playing "dreadful POMO (position of maximum opportunity) style football with the best players in the league."

He was hardly going to change the cautious habits of a lifetime in Ireland. 

The Irish talent for drawing whenever possible reached its height in that campaign. They drew every game bar the four against the group's two bottom sides, scraping wins home and away against Cyprus, Nicosia having been the scene of trauma in the previous campaign.

Bulgaria were second seeds at the outset but they turned out to be made of brittle stuff and Ireland had the runners-up spot wrapped up with a couple of games to spare.

Then came FIFA's greatly despised intervention. Being drawn with 2006 finalists France was generally perceived as the worst possible outcome for Ireland. The first leg would also be at home, a detail which seemed to bug Trap more than anyone else.

Ireland began with the usual fire and fury in the first leg in Croke Park but this dissipated as the game wore on.

With18 minutes left, Nicolas Anelka picked up the ball in a pocket of space 20 yards from goal. His side-footed curling shot took a major deflection off Sean St Leger, clipped a post and nestled in the net. 

After the first leg defeat, Ireland's World Cup hopes were written off as doomed.

"Johnny Cynic will point out that their cause is as good as hopeless; that Paddy is supping in the Last Chance Saloon and the taps and optics are dry." - Barry Glendenning, Guardian match-tracker

Ever since the game, the narrative persists that the Irish players who took the field in Paris made a conscious decision to discard Trap's rigidly defensive template and 'have a cut'.

If that decision was taken, it was taken without Kevin Doyle's knowledge. 

"I've heard stories since saying that we had this emergency meeting on the bus and we said we'd ditch Trap's tactics," he tells RTÉ Sport. 

"That wasn't the case at all. Unless I was excluded from the meeting! But I doubt I would have been. I was starting so..."

For Doyle, who played the full 120 minutes at centre-forward, Ireland's startlingly exuberant approach on the night was dictated by the situation they were in. 

It was, in some respects, no different from the burst of attacking brio that traditionally seizes Ireland whenever they go 1-0 down. It was just on this occasion, they were starting the game 1-0 down. 

"There was no point in us sitting back. We were losing. It was as simple as that. We played at home and we hadn't played well. And it was basically, 'listen, we have to come out and try and win this game.'

"Trap didn't say do this, do that or the other. Giovanni set us up, picked the team, put us out there and we didn't ignore his orders or anything."

Four minutes in, Duff lobbed in a cross which was just too high for Robbie Keane. A minute later, Richard Dunne got his head on the ball in the French penalty box but it bounced wide.

On 23 minutes, Lloris had to dive at the feet of Robbie Keane when the striker appeared set to lash home a rebound after Doyle's shot was blocked. 

Two minutes later, Doyle missed a great chance to head home the opener after leaping above Gallas but he failed to connect properly with his forehead and the ball dribbled wide.    

The French were oddly subdued and the home fans were growing restless. 

Though he was annoyed at missing the opportunity, Doyle says his 'abiding memory' of the opening half hour was thinking, "Jesus, we're playing really well here."

Eight minutes later, Ireland went ahead. Damien Duff, superbly lively all night, was the creator, playing a one-two with Liam Lawrence and pulling the ball back from the end-line for Robbie Keane to coolly side-foot home from ten yards. 

In the away section and among Irish fans back at home, the goal triggered an explosion of joy, one intensified by the realisation that Ireland were suddenly alive in a tie that most had despondently presumed was dead and buried.  

The home team were booed off at half-time.

"I remember sitting in the dressing room at half-time thinking 'we've got a great chance here'," Doyle says. 

"I don't think they expected us to play as well as we did. They thought they did the hard work in Dublin, it felt like. They were maybe a bit shell-shocked by our levels of intensity in the game."

Rather than reverting to default settings, Ireland re-doubled their attacking efforts in the second half, as if intrigued by where this unexpected momentum could carry them.

One minute into the second half, they had a great chance to go 2-0 up. A free-kick from the left found John O'Shea completely unmarked at the back post. The defender chested the ball down and volleyed high and wide from a tight-ish angle. William Gallas threw a wobbler at his defensive colleagues for the slack marking.  

On the hour mark arrived another glorious chance. Keane slipped in a lovely through ball and Duffer scampered through the heart of the French defence. Racing through for the one-on-one, he only had Lloris to beat but side-footed his shot straight at the keeper.

France had the occasional chance but Ireland remained most likely to score. Doyle said it spoke of the confidence that still resided within the team in 2009. 

"Most of us were playing in the Premier League and doing quite well at the time. We weren't thinking of ourselves that we were nowhere near their ability. 

"I felt on the pitch that we were going to the World Cup. I felt that was the way it was going. I couldn't see any other outcome other than we were going to make the World Cup."

Arguably, the best chance fell to Keane. On 72 minutes, he was played through by a clever pass from Lawrence, breezed past Gallas and into the left edge of the six-yard box, poked the ball past Lloris but failed to get a shot away before it dribbled out of play. 

Trap winced in distress on the sideline, perhaps sensing that Ireland's missed chances were going to prove costly.   

"It shouldn't have gone to extra-time," says Doyle bluntly.

'There's only one ball. Just go and head it' - Roy Keane

12 minutes into extra-time, with Ireland's attacking forays already growing more and more infrequent, France were awarded a free in a central location just inside the half. 

Florent Malouda floated the ball towards the general vicinity of the six-yard box. Roy Keane would subsequently remind the Irish players that there was only one ball on the pitch and they'd be well advised to just go and head it but that insight wasn't available to them on the night. 

The ball bounced on the left edge of the six-yard area. Paul McShane hesitated for a fatal second, Thierry Henry stole around the back of him and forced the ball across goal, allowing William Gallas to score from a yard out with a combination of his head and neck.

It's a quiz question that still catches people out. Who scored the goal for France that killed Ireland's World Cup chances in 2009? Not Thierry Henry.

Given tore off in the direction of Swedish referee Martin Hansson, wide-eyed and pleading, gesturing at his hand. Henry tore off behind the goal, casting a furtive glance back at the ref, which would subsequently be captured by cameramen around the ground. Irish players gathered in frenzied protest around the ref and then the linesman.

In the ground, confusion reigned. Irish fans in the away section stood stock-still and solemn-looking. In a minute or so, the mobile touchscreens would light up as the messages from home buzzed in: 'Handball'

Back home, slumped Irish fans gazed up the screen as the replays flooded up. It was immediately obvious that this was going to be huge.    

'What do you want me to do about it now?' - Richard Dunne

The rest of the game was a complete after-thought. Indeed, it was such a non-event, one could almost imagine, thinking back, that the golden goal rule had been resurrected for one-night only.

At the full-time whistle, a somewhat shaken looking France coach, the much maligned Raymond Domenech, was embraced by a few administrative types in suits.

Henry trotted around a bit sheepishly, looking rather like a man who knew every camera was staring at him. The game now over, he was happy to embrace his confessional side. He plopped down on the turf beside Dunne and told the Irish centre-half he'd handled the ball.

"What do you want me to do about it?" replied Dunne. 

Doyle was too far up the pitch to spot the handball and by the end of extra-time was still unsure what had happened. 

His mumbled post-match interactions with the French players indicated many of them were in the same boat. 

"No different than the usual. Unlucky, etc, etc. Their players didn't realise about the handball either. 

"I think the French players felt sorry for us afterwards more on our performance. They knew we probably deserved to win that game. They knew were the better team on the night and that they got away with it."

In the dressing room after, no one had the time, the inclination or the energy to do an autopsy. The campaign was over.

"There's nothing said after that. It's the end of the campaign, what can be said? There's nothing being spoken. 

"I don't recall any major speeches. It's more a case of the kitmen saying hurry up, we need to get out of here, we've a flight to catch. You don't get much chance to dwell on things in football. There's always a game a few days later."

'It's bizarre because the machines have nothing to do with Thierry Henry' - Unnamed Sun source

"The thief of St Denis," George Hamilton dubbed Henry as he handed back to the studio. 

Around Ireland, Facebook feeds lit up with expressions of outrage, retribution, the occasional innocent expression of pride in the Irish performance. 

The Irish editions of UK tabloids aped a kind of knockabout Francophobia more native to England, but which the Irish public were happy to embrace for the week that was in it

There were numerous Facebook petitions calling in semi-official language for a 'Replay of the France v Ireland World Cup Playoff', which seemed to secure about a billion signatures (may be exaggeration employed). 

Parodies emerged. A group of Limerick hurling fans petitioned for a replay to the 1992 Munster final on account of Tomás Mulcahy's hilariously illegal second-half goal. This appeal fell on deaf ears within the GAA. 

John Delaney and Giovanni Trapattoni spoke at an urgent press conference in Abbotstown, the former formally requesting a replay, saying the "integrity" of the game had been damaged in full view of "millions of football fans worldwide." 

The matter was debated on Prime Time on RTÉ and the Vincent Browne show on TV3. It dominated headlines around the world. 

Article after after article after article after article after article was written about video technology.

Comedian Dara O'Briain appeared on BBC's Newsnight to discuss the fallout with a cringing, apologetic David Ginola.

On the Friday, 200 people marched to the French embassy calling for a replay and a suit to be brought against FIFA. Some of the wilder ones wanted boycotts of French goods and the recall of Irish diplomats in Paris.

The Sun informed us that cleaners in Dublin were refusing to handle Henry Hoovers. 

"Several cleaners say they're unhappy working with vacuum cleaners with the cheat's name written on them," a government worker supposedly told the paper. 

"It's bizarre because the machines have nothing whatsoever to do with Thierry Henry," added the source quite unnecessarily. 

A caller to Liveline demanded a boycott of Cuisine de France, which must have come as a worry to the company's Dublin-born founder.

The players were out of the loop on all this. 

"I know in Ireland what was going on, people wanting replays and all that," says Doyle. 

"We weren't involved in any of that because all of us had to go back and play for our club two days later. We didn't have a chance to get caught up in that side of things.

"People who didn't know about football were thinking 'You'll have to get a replay'. Anyone who knew, that was a joke. That suggestion was a total non-runner anyway." 

There was clearly an element of revelling in the obvious injustice of it all. Ireland had generated more goodwill and world headlines by the manner of their missing out on the World Cup than they were ever likely to get just by qualifying for the thing.  

A few sage voices were on hand to advise us that this industrial scale whining had a shelf life. If we were not careful, it could tip over mortification. One's dignity could be a casualty eventually. 

Alas, that moment was coming. 

"We are not going to commit hara-kari because the referee made a mistake and this time in our favour."

'What would Camus do?' - Agnes Poirier

Four years after their humiliation in the Falklands War, the Argentines took a great deal of malicious delight in Maradona's 'Hand of God' goal - the common refrain being that they got a far greater kick out of that 'strike' than they did the amazing second goal. 

The French, after committing larceny against the 'little' Irish, one of history's traditional underdogs, took a radically different tack and buried themselves in self-flagellation. 

In the Guardian, Agnes Poirier wrote that the handball had caused an existential crisis in France and asked the pertinent question - "What would Camus do?"

Politicians led the way in expressions of discomfort. 

"On Friday morning, interviewed one by one, they all in turn deplored their national team's victory", she wrote. "Economy minister Christine Lagarde even called for a rematch, and so did many others, such as opposition leader Francois Bayrou." 

In France, no matter is seemingly too trivial for a philosopher not to be asked to throw in their tuppence worth.

The impression we have here of French public debate is an assortment of Jacques-Jacques Liverot types (Day Today reference) babbling out their kooky, left-field theories morning, noon and night.

("Here's Bernard Henri-Levy on the morality of the St Etienne manager being sent to the stands in today's Ligue 2 game against Le Havre")

The philosopher to step forward was the controversial Alain Finkielkraut. 

"There was cheating," said Finkielkraut. "We are faced with a real matter of conscience.

"From a moral point of view, I would almost have preferred a defeat to a victory in these conditions. We certainly have nothing to be proud of. Domenech is without shame."

They weren't all shame-faced and apologetic. 

Patrice Evra said he'd consider giving Ireland a replay "on his Playstation". (The only pity there being David Meyler wasn't around to take him on.)

The willfully tin-eared Domenech told the post-match press conference that "we are not going to commit hara-kari because the referee made a mistake and this time in our favour."

It's possible that much of the French refusal to embrace the stroke of good fortune arose from contempt for Domenech, who was by then widely understood to be one of the most hated men in France. 

In the face of public scorn, he doubled down on his own eccentricity. 

At times, he seemed to treat his own manager-ship as less of a job and more a piece of wacky performance art. As if Andy Kaufman had been put in charge of an international football team. 

When they were eliminated from the group phase after a dismal performance in Euro 2008, he chose to propose to his girlfriend in his post-match interview (she said no but they are still together).  

Astonishingly, he was left in charge by the French federation.

'Bono calls on FIFA to reinstate Ireland' - RTÉ headline

Dissidents had emerged to warn us against overdosing on self-pity. They were derided at the time but a minority was receptive.

Their leader was Roy Keane, who delivered a 'state of us' tirade from the Ipswich Town training ground, berating both John Delaney and a chap whose phone kept going off.

It wasn't until late November that the wisdom of his interjection became apparent.

Twelve days after the match, FIFA president Sepp Blatter spoke at a press conference in South Africa ahead of the World Cup draw, reporting the details of their meeting with FAI officials. 

"Naturally, they have not asked for any sanctions to be given to any player or the referee, but they have asked, very humbly 'Can't we be team No.33 at the World Cup?' They have asked for that, really," he announced as the room burst into laughter. 

The FAI protested angrily that the '33rd team' discussion was very much "peripheral" and "explored only fleetingly" during a 90-minute discussion. 

Not fleetingly enough.  

The 33rd team business probably signalled the end of the keening, or at least the end of its most intense phase. 

The notion was so embarrassing that many sensible people decided it was now wise to shut up about the Hand of Henry. 

"They went to the World Cup feeling like frauds. When you're a fraud, it never ends well" - Karim Nedjari

In the 2016 Netflix documentary 'Les Bleus: Another History of France',  the name 'Ireland' or 'Irlande' is not mentioned at all.  

There is only a still image of Henry gently manipulating the ball with his hand with Paul McShane hovering awkwardly behind him. 

We were irrelevant bystanders in an event which triggered another round of typically French navel gazing.

"Maradona's hand was God's hand, Henry's hand was the Devil's hand," Arsene Wenger observed.  

France's experience at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was a disaster, widely regarded as a nadir in the history of the national team, worse even than the failed qualification campaigns for Italia 90 and USA 94.

They finished bottom of the group, drawing with Uruguay, losing to Mexico and then hosts South Africa. There was the astonishing training ground bust-up and the resultant one-day players strike, which occurred in full-glare of the cameras.

The incident provoked condemnation in parliament and French supporters turned on the team, some angrily demanding they be made 'walk home' with others announcing they were happy they'd lost. 

Irish supporters, according to reports, donned sombreros as the Mexicans eliminated France in the second game. Nelson Muntz 'Ha Ha' memes proliferated around the Irish corner of the internet. 

In the Netflix doc, French journalist Karim Nedjari linked the failure back to the handball.

"They went to the World Cup feeling like frauds. From the hand to the bus incident, when you're a fraud, it never ends well."

"It should never have got that far"

Throughout the saga, the players were rather more phlegmatic than the supporters. The standard refrain from the Irish team was that had one of their players done as Henry had done, he'd be a hero.

Ten years on, Kevin Doyle doesn't blame the French striker or even the officials but does think about Ireland's inability to close out the game.

"I knew deep down that I didn't blame Thierry Henry. I didn't blame the linesman, you miss things, he didn't do it on purpose.

"My whole overriding feeling was that it should never have got that far. We had our chance to have it sewn up before then.

"We put in a really good performance. Some really good football, really took it to France on their home pitch. We didn't manage to finish it off."