The full-back and stand-in skipper for much of last season has agonisingly missed out on European Championship and World Cup Finals.
He was injured in the second leg as the Republic lost a play-off against Turkey on the away-goal rule to reach Euro 2000, he missed out on the 2002 World Cup Finals as he recovered from a serious knee injury and then played six of eight matches as Ireland finished third in qualifying behind Switzerland and Russia for Euro 2004.
Ireland kick-off their qualifying campaign for Germany 2006 in October and are they up against Switzerland again, France, Israel, Cyrpus and the Faroe Islands needing a top-two finish to progress either to the finals or a play-off.
"I'd love to play in a World Cup but you don't always get what you want in life," said Stephen. "And to be honest, I'm just happy playing football at the moment.
"I went through a lot with the injury and it's just great playing football, I love coming into training and playing football.
"If something comes at the end of it, fair enough. I don't have control over that.
"I will work as hard as I can to help Ireland get through to the World Cup. It's a young team and a developing team but with the likes of Roy (Keane) coming back, we'll have a chance.
"We've had some great friendlies of late including the Czech Republic and Brazil, fantastic games and it says a lot about Irish football when a team like Brazil are happy to come to Ireland for a friendly. It's a great feeling to play in a game like that.
"The qualifiers will be hard but I'm looking forward to it with the team we have and the form we're in and then Roy coming back is a big bonus for us as well.
Stephen Carr has every right to curse his bad luck when it comes to major tournaments - but as he aims for World Cup qualification with Ireland over the next couple of years, he insists he's happy just to be playing football.