Wednesday 23 May 2018

King tells IFA to accept rules as O'Kane nears Ireland switch

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

IRELAND U-21 manager Noel King says that the Northern Irish FA need to accept the rules and get on with it as the FAI wait for international clearance to secure the services of another Derry-born player.

King will be in England today to watch Torquay's Eunan O'Kane in action against Gillingham. O'Kane expressed a desire to switch allegiance last year after appearing for Northern Ireland at U-21 level, and Abbotstown chiefs are waiting for the green light from FIFA.

O'Kane spent time with Everton as a teenager before a stint in the Irish League with Coleraine. And King believes he can progress to join the Derry contingent that are making a names for themselves across the water.

The IFA are unhappy after losing Darron Gibson, Shane Duffy and James McClean, but King is unsympathetic.

"The issue has happened so many times," he said. "There's a player from Blackpool (Matt Phillips) who's gone to Scotland who played for England twice. It's commonplace. It's no longer an issue and people need to accept it.

"The IFA and the FAI and whatever associations just have to abide by the rules.


"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes players will lose if they make the big choices at the wrong time -- that's the nature of it. Get on with it."

King, who was speaking at the launch of a new multi-use games area on Dublin's Dromalee Road, hopes to have O'Kane for the June 4 European Championships qualifier against Italy in Sligo.

He is unsure if he will have Duffy available after the Everton lad was drafted into Giovanni Trapattoni's squad for next week's senior friendly with the Czech Republic. The Dubliner is a big fan of the centre-half, yet warns that he must be patient as he continues to develop.

"He's in a hurry, and he wants to be a star before his time," said King. "Sometimes these things take a little bit longer, particularly in the heart of defence where experience is crucial.

"But I think he is going to come through. I have seen a few games (Premier League) on television and he's looked very comfortable."

Meanwhile, after positive soundings during the week about possible funding for the redevelopment of the Brandywell, there could be more good news for McClean's old club Derry City after Fran Gavin confirmed they may represent the Airtricity League in this year's Dublin Super Cup.

A representative side lined out in 2011, but the new organisers, Iconic, are considering going for a settled club team instead.

It would be compensation for Derry after they were refused entry to the Europa League due to the mistakes of the previous regime.

Irish Independent

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