'I've just felt nothing but low' - Shamrock Rovers 'keeper addresses FAI Cup final anthem stance

Alan Mannus received criticism after not facing the Irish flag.

Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper Alan Mannus (file pic).
Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper Alan Mannus (file pic).
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

SHAMROCK ROVERS GOALKEEPER Alan Mannus has responded in the wake of controversy, after he chose not to face the Irish flag during the national anthem in Sunday’s FAI Cup final.

Fans on social media criticised the Northern Ireland international for his stance, but the 37-year-old insists he never meant to cause offence and denied suggestions that he was making a political statement.

“I’m so devastated that this happened,” he told the Belfast Telegraph. “After winning the cup I should be on a high, but to be honest, I’ve just felt nothing but low. I couldn’t sleep on Sunday night, because I was thinking about it.

“I would never try to do anything to make some sort of political statement. I don’t care about that sort of stuff. In my life I have never cared about anyone’s nationality or religion or whatever. I don’t care what anyone is. For me we are all the same.

“All I can do is apologise if anyone has seen it as being disrespectful or been offended by it. If people think I’m trying to be anti another country that is not me.

“It would hurt me to think that some people would see me as person who would be disrespectful. That’s not the person I am.

I am not one of these people who say or do things to be controversial. I hate being in this position where people are talking about me for this and it’s something I will have to deal with.

“Looking back now I guess it could be taken in a negative way. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but if could do it again I would do things differently.”

The 37-year-old, who was born in Canada and previously played for Linfield and St Johnstone, added: “I wasn’t even listening to what was being said when the two teams were lined up before the game.

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“We were facing forward and then the anthem started and people started turning slightly and I was thinking, what am I meant to do if I’m not Irish?

“I thought this was a moment for Irish people to sing their anthem. I know it was a club game but that’s what normally happens in international games which I’ve been involved in.”

Originally published at 12.10

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