Was split between women’s football power couple behind World Cup handshake snub? Ireland striker refuses to shake Australia star’s hand – after she went to Ibiza with her ex-girlfriend

  • Ireland’s Ruesha Littlejohn snubbed Caitlin Foord ahead of Matildas’ 1-0 win 
  • Littlejohn recently split from partner and Ireland captain Katie McCabe
  • It has been reported Foord and Littlejohn had to be restrained after the game

A stunning snub which saw Irish striker Ruesha Littlejohn refusing to shake hands with Australian star Caitlin Foord may have been down to the Matildas player’s close friendship and recent holiday with the Ireland ace’s ex-girlfriend, it has been claimed.

The awkward on-pitch encounter between the rival strikers, which took place before the Aussies beat Ireland 1-0 in their World Cup opener, has sent football gossip circles into overdrive.

Video footage shows Irish striker Littlejohn seeming to skip over Foord in pre-match handshakes before kickoff on Thursday night in a highly unusual snub.

Witnesses say tensions reached boiling point when Littlejohn appeared to make an attempt to approach Foord after the match and had to be physically restrained by a number of her teammates.

Now rumours are rife about what motivated the Irish striker’s unusual behaviour, and fans are speculating that it could have something to do with Littlejohn’s recent split from long-time partner and Irish captain Katie McCabe.

One of Ireland’s most recognisable sporting couples, Littlejohn and McCabe separated after just over seven years together, with McCabe confirming the break-up during a recent interview just days ago.

The awkward snub of Caitlin Foord by Ruesha Littlejohn may have come after Foord (left) enjoyed a holiday with the Irish striker's ex-girlfriend Katie McCabe (right)

Ruesha Littlejohn and Caitlin Foord confronted one another after the final whistle in Sydney

Footage shows Ruesha Littlejohn completely ignoring Foord in the handshake procession before Ireland's 1-0 loss to the Matildas on Thursday night

Arsenal teammates and 'great friends' Caitlin Foord and Katie McCabe

Exes Katie McCabe and Ruesha Littlejohn, who both play for Ireland

Littlejohn plays for Women’s Super League side Aston Villa while her ex, McCabe, plays for UK Arsenal.

Foord is McCabe’s Gunners teammate and the pair recently shared a fun holiday to Ibiza together with a group of pals.

Foord also recently became single after splitting from Swiss midfielder and Arsenal teammate Lia Walti. 

The Mail does not infer that Foord had anything to do with the breakdown of Littlejohn and McCabe’s relationship. 

‘Clearly there is still some tension surrounding from Littlejohn’s side of things which looks like it spilled over a bit on Thursday night,’ a source close to the team told Daily Mail Australia.

‘Caitlin and Katie are great friends.

‘They play together for Arsenal. They spend a lot of time together. But there’s nothing more to it than that.’

News of Littlejohn and McCabe’s split recently made headline news in Ireland with McCabe referring in an interview to Littlejohn in the past tense as ‘my partner at the time’ in a sure sign that they are no longer together.

Foord (left) and McCabe are said to be part of a tight-knit friend circle at Arsenal

McCabe and Littlejohn pictured together on holiday during their seven-year relationship

McCabe and Littlejohn pictured together on holiday during their seven-year relationship

Happier times: McCabe (L) and Littlejohn during their seven-year relationship

Footage of the ‘blanked’ handshake has clocked up thousands of views on TikTok, with comments zeroing in on Littlejohn blatantly skipping Foord’s extended hand.

‘It’s now clearly [sic] that there’s some drama between Katie, Reusha and Caitlin,’ wrote one Tik Tok user.

‘Ruesha that’s too personal’, wrote another.

Contacted via her management, Foord declined to make any comment about the incident.

Ireland captain Katie McCabe recently confirmed her split from teammate Littlejohn

McCabe is seen shaking the hand of injured Aussie skipper Sam Kerr after the defeat

However, Matildas insiders have insisted that Foord and McCabe are simply good mates and their friendship had no bearing on McCabe’s break-up with Littlejohn.

It’s believed the interview was given just two days before the World Cup.

In the piece, McCabe describes how she was taken under her wing by Ireland legend Emma Byrne when she signed for Arsenal at the tail end of 2015.

Until recently, Foord was in a relationship with fellow Arsenal teammate Lia Walti

After a little over a year with the North London side, then-Ireland manager Colin Bell called Katie to inform her that he was appointing the Arsenal star as captain. 

‘Then a bit more than a year later, in July 2017, things got even more insane,’ said McCabe.

‘I was on a trip to Coney Island, Northern Ireland, with Ruesha, my partner at the time, and her family. At some point I checked my phone, and I saw that I had a missed call from Colin Bell, the Ireland coach.’

The pair began dating around 2016, going on their first date in St Albans, and went public with their relationship in 2019. 

‘It started with football. She’s a few years older than me,’ McCabe told Evoke.ie in 2020. 

‘I got to know her through football first and we became good friends at the start and we then we began spending a lot more time together off the pitch socialising together and it kicked off from there.’

The couple moved in together in St Albans to play for their respective England sides, and during that time McCabe was called up to captain for Ireland. 

The couple moved in together in St Albans to play for their respective England sides. Pictured together on holiday

The exes regularly shared loved-up snaps together on Instagram during their relationship

They have fronted Pride campaigns aimed at helping young people who are struggling with their sexuality, and regularly shared loved-up snaps together on Instagram during their relationship.

McCabe told the online publication that their shared love of football brought them together. 

‘We’re both very passionate about it, obviously our drive is to win trophies and qualify for championships with the Republic of Ireland. We’re both very driven in that sense.

‘Don’t get me wrong, we’ve clashed heads a few times over certain games and training sessions but that’s part and parcel of the game. We’re very professional when we are playing football, that’s our main focus. We can relax then when we get back home.’