Congratulations flooded in for Derry footballer James McClean last night following his first call-up to the Republic of Ireland international squad.
The Sunderland and former Northern Ireland Under-21 winger from Creggan Heights has been given the green light by Giovanni Trapattoni to join fellow Derry men Darron Gibson and Shane Duffy of Everton in the squad to face the Czech Republic in the friendly international later this month. The move will boost hopes that the 22 year-old could be included in Trapattoni’s squad for Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
However, abuse directed towards the player by Northern Ireland fans posting messages on social media websites suggest that the move will reignite the ‘eligibility’ row.
Nationalist politicians in Derry last night heaped praise on the call-up of the rising star. SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood said: “All of Derry wishes him well in the coming friendly match and hope this may be the lead-in to a call-up for the Republic squad for the Euro 2012 championships in Poland and the Ukraine.” Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney added: “He is a great ambassador for his home town and for soccer alike. His dedication and success in the sport continues to be an inspiration to younger sports people in Derry.”