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'Media are trying to make a big thing that Ireland are out for revenge but it's not about that'

Southampton striker Shane Long is the latest member of the Ireland playing and management staff to be asked about Thierry Henry’s infamous handball.

Long spoke to the media earlier today.
Long spoke to the media earlier today.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

- Ben Blake reports from Versailles

THE NUMBER OF French journalists attending Ireland press conferences has noticeably increased since Martin O’Neill’s side booked a meeting with the host nation at Euro 2016 on Wednesday night.

Yesterday, the Ireland boss was quizzed by one reporter about Thierry Henry’s controversial handball in the lead-up to France’s vital goal during the 2010 World Cup play-off in Paris.

And while O’Neill shrugged off the question, stating that we had “decided to forget about it”, the subject was again brought up by the French this afternoon when Shane Long, Daryl Murphy and Roy Keane took turns at the top table.

“The press are trying to make a big thing about this with ‘revenge’ and ‘Ireland are coming for revenge,’” said Long. “It’s not about that at all, it’s the last-16 of the Euros.

“It’s a massive opportunity for us as a small nation to really kick on. It will be a tough game but we’re approaching it like we do any other game. We’ll look at their team, their set-pieces, their individuals and put a plan together that sees us beat them.”

Former Auxerre manager Guy Roux has suggested the Irish players should watch the game in question back to gain inspiration, but Long was clearly eager to move on from the topic.

That’s seven years ago,” he added. “That’s forgotten about now. We were devastated at the time because it cost us a place in the finals. We don’t even think about that. Our focus is just on this game.

“We’re playing a very good French team on French soil. It’s going to be hard but we’re going to be right up for that challenge and maybe we can cause a bit of an upset. When it comes to that Henry handball, it’s not even in our minds.”

Keane was also asked a similar question, to which he bluntly responded: “We don’t have that mentality, revenge doesn’t come into it.”

Listen to The42′s Ben Blake on the 98FM Euro 2016 Daily podcast throughout the tournament 

Keane: Getting only 4,500 tickets for Ireland fans seems a bit unfair but we just have to roll our sleeves up

Roy Keane: ‘I’m always hugging my dogs but no one seems to worry about that’

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Ben Blake

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