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'I would never condone anyone booing anyone's anthem'

Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill was less than impressed with a section of the crowd at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday.

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill pictured last night at the Aviva Stadium.
Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill pictured last night at the Aviva Stadium.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

- Paul Fennessy reports from the Aviva Stadium

NORTHERN IRELAND BOSS Michael O’Neill says he disagreed with fans’ booing of the national anthems during his side’s clash with the Republic at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday night.

‘God Save the Queen’ was loudly booed by home fans at the game, while sections of the away support could be heard doing likewise while the Republic’s anthem Amhrán na bhFiann was playing.

“When people come to a football ground, and decide to boo an anthem, that’s their decision,” O’Neill said afterwards.

“I don’t particularly agree with it, I would never condone anyone booing anyone’s anthem, but that’s not something I’m in control of. I don’t want to dwell on that too much, I concentrate on football.

“The game was played in a great spirit, there was great respect between both sets of players, it was very competitive and when tackles went in, you could see players picking each other up. You could see there was a great respect between both players, and that’s the most important thing.”

Meanwhile, the former Shamrock Rovers manager said he was satisfied with his team’s performance on the night and felt it deserved a better result.

I think we should have won that game. In terms of possession of the ball and chances created, we should have won the game.

“We have to commend Darren Randolph, I thought he had a great night and made important saves at key moments in the game.

“We are pleased with the performance, but there is a pattern there, like in our games in the Nations League, in that we dominated the game without taking the chances we created.”

But while adamant that his side were superior on the night, O’Neill was reluctant to be too critical of the opposition.

“We knew what the Republic of Ireland would be [like],” he said. “Martin is in a similar situation to me, he’s trying to integrate new players into his team. He had two relatively inexperienced centre-backs at this level coming in tonight, and we had relative inexperience at full-back and in wide areas.

“You have to give players a chance to get to this level, and at the end of the day, the Republic weren’t beaten, so they can take that out of the game.”

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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