Ian Baraklough, the frustrated Northern Ireland manager, said he hopes the trend won’t start as the appearance of historic social media posts affects his team.
Araklau admitted it was the right decision for the Irish Football Association to withdraw Glentor’s Conor McMenamin from their squad ahead of the Nations League’s victory over Kosovo, but left him with a lack of numbers.
On the eve of the match, a landmark video of McMenamin sparked controversy on social media as it appeared to show a Downpatrick man allegedly singing a pro-IRA hymn.
On Friday, Kyle Lafferty was also left out of the squad when a separate video surfaced showing the Kilmarnock striker making an alleged sectarian comment.
While Lafferty’s video is believed to be recent, Baraklough stated that the McMenamin video was more than a decade old.
In fact, Sunday Life Sport is aware that the video was taken in 2015, when McMenamin was 19 at a bar in Belfast.
Speaking right after the 2-1 win over Kosovo, Barakloff said: “It’s a distraction that I wouldn’t prefer. It happens so close to kick-off time. I thought we did the right things in getting Connor out of the team. He needs to look at it.”
“Obviously a historical video from social media since he was 16 I think. Not sure where she’s going at this time.
“You’re just hoping that this isn’t the start of something, that more stuff isn’t moved.
“I’d rather leave it at that and not dwell on it too much. I was trying to focus on a football match when we found out, and that’s what we did.
“It was hard for the boys because we lost two members of the team, and they got close to them and they don’t like seeing that happen to anyone. It’s tough or rough.
“He could have played a major role but they rallied and got a result.”
With Northern Ireland losing 1-0, a small section of the Green Army and the White Army chanted, “We want Barra out.”
Barakloff thinks this kind of negativity is unhelpful.
“It’s part of the game. I just tried to stop it.
“I don’t think it helps because I think it can get to the players, and that’s something I feel sad about.
“I understand that we have to win football matches, but I am building and developing a team and that takes time. Of course, you have to win matches along the way, and we did that today.
“I hope the fans see what we’re trying to do and show some patience, because I think we’re at our strongest and we’re a match for anyone.
“Today was an example of a band that came close together. They are a tight-knit group that enjoy performing for the masses.
“They need that support from the masses.”
On the night, two late goals from Gavin White and Josh Magnes gave Northern Ireland a 2-1 win over Kosovo. The victory – Northern Ireland’s first in the Nations League – should be enough to stave off relegation to the fourth tier.
Speaking of the late comeback, Barakloff said: “There wasn’t much in the first half of the match, there wasn’t much rhythm, it was half the chances for both sides.
“In the second half we asked for a faster game, moving the ball faster, turning it from side to side. We missed a lot of chances as we needed a great performance from Bailey and we got it but we also created our own.
“The character from the 1-0 loss was phenomenal, we’ve seen it before but it could have been flat, it would have been terrible, obviously we did subs that we thought would benefit the game and went down tonight and attribute it to the boys who came in and kept going. win it.”
Two of Baraklough’s subs – Shane Lavery and Waite – combined to score the first goal, while White made a cross for winner Josh Magniss in injury time.
“The submarines changed it,” Barakloff said, “but the eleventh start created a platform for velocity injections.
“We also changed the format which allowed Gavin Whyte to go into their defender and allowed Shane to play a bigger role on the left side. They both had a role in goals and that’s great to see.
“We could have given it up and at 1-1 we got a bit excited chasing the winner but we left ourselves very open and that’s when we needed the goalkeeper to stand strong but then to come back and get the winner was what I think we deserved.
Northern Ireland now travels to Greece for the Nations League C final on Tuesday evening in Athens.
#Northern #Ireland #coach #Ian #Baraklough #sticking #decision #withdraw #Conor #McMenamin #team #viral #video #viral