Republic of Ireland defender Shane Duffy has responded to criticism on Twitter after he paid tribute to the late Martin McGuinness this morning.
McGuinness, a former Northern Ireland deputy first minister and ex-member of the IRA's Army Council, died early this morning at Derry's Altnagelvin Hospital after battling a rare heart disease.
More tragic news this morning, RIP Martin Mc Guinness a true hero for many off us god bless your family and close ones #ireland— Shane Duffy (@ShaneDuffy34) March 21, 2017
Duffy tweeted: "More tragic news this morning, RIP Martin McGuinness a true hero for many off us, God bless your family and close ones #ireland."
The tweet garnered a very mixed reaction on social media.
The 25-year-old Derry native joined Brighton last year from Blackburn last summer and has played a huge role in their promotion push, but people were quick to point out that the city, where Duffy now plies his trade, had been targeted in one of the most infamous IRA bombings of The Troubles.
Five people died when the IRA targeted the Conservative party conference at Brighton’s Grand Hotel in 1984.
One user wrote: "Grand Hotel Brighton......coward no hero"
Another wrote: "plays for Brighton...a place effected by terroist (sic) attacks and he says this. Disgusting"
I'll always stand by what and who I support , it's the way I was brought up https://t.co/w07ugGngmN— Shane Duffy (@ShaneDuffy34) March 21, 2017
Duffy returned to Twitter to defend his stance, tweeting: "I'll always stand by what and who I support , it's the way I was brought up."
In 2013, Duffy denied responsibility for a pro-IRA message that appeared on his Twitter account on St Patrick's Day.
A post that read 'Up the Ra!' was retweeted by his account but claimed that his phone was taken by someone who retweeted the message without his knowledge.