Wednesday 13 December 2017

Boxer Carl Frampton revelling in Northern Ireland's qualification

Boxer Carl Frampton watched Northern Ireland qualify for Euro 2016
Boxer Carl Frampton watched Northern Ireland qualify for Euro 2016

Carl Frampton was on hand to wish Northern Ireland well as they continued punching above their weight to book a place at Euro 2016.

Frampton, the IBF super bantamweight champion, is friends with Leeds winger Stuart Dallas and was at Windsor Park to watch Michael O'Neill's side seal a famous 3-1 win in Belfast.

He spent the match sitting next to golfing hero Rory McIlroy, but arrived early to wish the players luck.

"Those lads are all heroes," he told Press Association Sport.

"I went in before the game and shook a few hands, I know a few of them personally and I'm good friends with Stuart.

"The boys seemed in good spirits. Michael has got the team playing better football than any Northern Ireland team I've ever seen."

Frampton was not born when Billy Bingham took the country to the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and although the outcome was a good one, he confessed to a nervy night beforehand.

"Northern Ireland were last at a tournament in 1986 and I was born in 87, it's the first tournament of my lifetime and a first ever European Championship. It's going to be huge," he said.

"It's so exciting it took me a while to get to sleep the night before the match, I was worrying about the game and how much it means.

"I'm usually pretty cool when I'm fighting, I don't have trouble sleeping because I'm the one in control, but I was nervous for the game.

"I can't really book anything until I have the dates of my next fights but if I can make it to France I'll be there."

Press Association

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