Tuesday 24 October 2017

Ireland goes on airwaves in bid to diffuse Cork backlash

Stephen Ireland is never
far away from the
headlines. Photo: PA
Stephen Ireland is never far away from the headlines. Photo: PA
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

STEPHEN IRELAND was last night engaged in a futile attempt to build bridges after an interview in a French football magazine where, among other insults, he claimed that he would rather shoot himself than live in his native Cork.

The Cobh man, on loan at Newcastle from Aston Villa, reiterated his criticisms of Giovanni Trapattoni, dismissed Birmingham as a "crap" city and said he had better things to do than play for Ireland.

After a backlash from friends and family in Cork, Ireland moved to try to diffuse the controversy, insisting that he had only consented to speak with 'So Foot' magazine to do a quick-fire quiz rather than a lengthy interview.

Speaking to Newstalk, the player said the magazine had used the entire discussion, and alleges that certain comments were taken out of context or blown out of proportion.

"Last week I had a preview of the interview and I asked them to pull it. I said 'listen, this is ridiculous this is not what it was meant to be'. It was supposed to be 15 questions about what's your favourite colour, what's your favourite this ... this has strayed so far from the topic, it's just ridiculous," he said.

Ireland's full 25-minute defence of his actions will be broadcast on Newstalk at 3.0 today -- he declares his affection for Cork.

"I love Cork, I've Cork tattooed on my body," he said. "It's somewhere I go. I've family still there, my best friends are still there, my kids go back there once every two months. If it was that bad to me, I wouldn't have my kids going back there.

"It's something very close to my heart, Cork is. It's really, really close to me. (This) just really makes me frustrated and angry."

Irish Independent

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