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Northern Ireland boss condemns 'one or two mindless idiots' over sectarian chants in Belfast pub

A video surfaced on Sunday which showed people in replica Northern Ireland jerseys singing anti-Catholic songs.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill.
Image: Presseye/Matt Mackey/INPHO

NORTHERN IRELAND MANAGER Michael O’Neill has condemned supporters who were witnessed singing sectarian chants over the weekend.

A video surfaced on Sunday, in which people wearing replica Northern Ireland football jerseys chanted: “We hate Catholics, everybody hates Roman Catholics.”

It’s understood that the video was recorded in a Belfast pub on the same day Northern Ireland defeated Belarus 2-1 in a Euro 2020 qualifying game.

Speaking today, O’Neill criticised those responsible, describing them as “mindless idiots” who do not reflect the make-up of his side’s support base.

“It’s unnecessary,” said the former Shamrock Rovers boss, as quoted by the Belfast Telegraph. “There’s no place for that kind of behaviour. It’s one or two mindless idiots and not a reflection on 99.9% of the support.

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Northern Ireland v Belarus - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying - Group C - Windsor Park O'Neill praised those supporters inside Windsor Park on Sunday. Source: Brian Lawless

“The Northern Ireland team is for everyone and that’s the message. We’re stronger together and we’ll continue in that vein.

“I certainly don’t think it’s a reflection on Northern Ireland as a team, or in terms of our support either. We had a fantastic game here on Sunday night and a fantastic atmosphere in the stadium.” 

He added: “We would ask for the supporters to behave themselves away from the stadium. It’s a tiny minority of people, whether it’s the influence of alcohol or not, it’s disappointing, but not something we need to dwell on.

“We’ve had fantastic support here. The atmosphere in the stadium is always great. Anyone that comes to the games from outside Northern Ireland always talks about the atmosphere.”

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