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Monday 22 September 2014

Five sports stars who have been abused on social media

Published 30/07/2014 | 11:32

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Everton's Seamus Coleman has been the victim of online abuse
Everton's Seamus Coleman has been the victim of online abuse

Meath football captain Kevin Reilly added his voice to those pleading for supporters to desist from verbally abusing GAA players, especially on social media, recently.

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"There's a lot of hurt there and there should be," he said of the fallout from their shockingly poor Leinster final performance against Dublin.

"We came in for a lot of criticism and some of it was justified. When you pull on a Meath jersey, there are standards expected of you and we didn't reach them the last day. I've no problem saying it; we really had to perform and we didn't, that's the really disappointing thing."

The trend of sports stars being abused on social media is increasing, with Stan Collymore even going as far as getting the police involved for racist tweets he has received in the past.

SEAMUS COLEMAN

It's hard to believe now, but two years ago there was a brief time when the Republic of Ireland defender was public enemy number one for Everton fans.

It all came to a head when he gave away a penalty against  Adam Le Fondre which gifted Reading a 2-1 win and the trolls were out.

Coleman was subjected to an avalanche of vile, racists tweets from so-called Everton fans with a spokesman for the club, Darren Griffiths, forced to release a statement, saying: “We 100% abhor every single one of these comments made by mindless individuals who have shown no respect for the strong Irish links Everton has with all its Irish supporters."

The Killybegs dynamo responded in the best possible fashion with storming performances, culmination in the Player of the Year award for Everton last season and being voted the best right full in the Premier League.

STAN COLLYMORE

The former Liverpool and England striker is an A-lister when it comes to Twitter.

With 644,000 followers and an outspoken personality, he is always likely to stir debate. Throw in his work around racism in football and a public battle with depression and Collymore can sometimes be an easy target for Twitter trolls.

Collymore came in for the abuse when he claimed Luis Suarez cheated by diving during a Premier League match against Aston Villa, with police forced to drop their investigation into racist abuse against Collymore today after Twitter refused to cooperate.

"Cannock and Staffordshire Police have been exceptional. It's Twitter refusing to give info. Twitter, beyond UK law. For now," tweeted Collymore.

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JON DALY

As pathetic as it sounds, an Irishman signing for Glasgow Rangers is always going to unleash they keyboard warriors and when Dubliner Daly signed on the Blue line in 2013, the bigots crawled out of the gutter to vent their anger.

This wasn't about football or rivalry between football fans. It was hate-fueled sectarianism with the Irishman even receiving death threats for daring to breach the religious divide in Glasgow.

Like Coleman, Daly responded on the pitch with a consistent flow of goals to catapult the Gers back to withing touching distance of the Scottish Premier League.

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DARRON GIBSON

On Monday, April 25, 2011 Darron Gibson opened his Twitter account. Two hours later, he closed it.

These days, footballers need to be thick-skinned to survive in the no holds barred world of social media.

United captain at the time, Rio Ferdinand, welcomed the Irishman to Twitter, saying: "We have a new member from the Man utd crew... @dgibbo28 has joined twitterverse show him some love tweeps!"

While most of the 'tweeps' were most welcoming to Gibson, a small minority ruined the party and @dgibbo28 hung up his keyboard.

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PAUL McGRATH

The Irish legend became embroiled in a Twitter spat with Glen Johnson when McGrath questioned the Liverpool defender's loyalty to Luis Suarez following the racism row with Patrice Evra.

In one tweet, Englishman Johnson claimed he never even heard of Paul McGrath. Sound outrageous? Worse was to follow when McGrath was on the end of a barrage of insults on Twitter from so-called Liverpool fans.

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