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Team Ireland's Michael McKillop and Jason Smyth question being left out of Windsor Park re-opening event

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 10/10/2016

Gold medallists Michael McKillop and Jason Smyth at Dublin Airport
Gold medallists Michael McKillop and Jason Smyth at Dublin Airport
Jason Smyth with his gold medal
Jason Smyth
Jason with wife Elise and daughter Evie
Ireland's Jason Smyth takes gold in the Men's 100m T13 Final held at The Olympic Stadium during the second day of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. PA
Hero: Paralympian Jason Smyth

A five-time Paralympic gold medal winner has questioned why he was omitted from a parade of famous faces at the opening of the new national football stadium.

Jason Smyth - a member of Team Ireland - questioned if his national colours meant more than his sporting achievements.

The "lap of legends" featured star names from the worlds of sport, music and television.

TV personality James Nesbitt and Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody joined sporting heroes including world champion boxer Carl Frampton and Olympic gold medallist Dame Mary Peters in the star-studded walk around the pitch.

Two of Northern Ireland's Paralympians, swimmer Bethany Firth and skier Kelly Gallagher, also took part in the event, ahead of Saturday evening's World Cup qualifier against San Marino.

But Team Ireland athletes Smyth and Michael McKillop were not present.

Smyth later took to Twitter to express his feelings.

In a message to Martin McGuinness, he wrote: "Only in NI does the colours you wear mean more than what you achieve! Do you think we will ever move on @M_McGuinness_SF?"

The Irish FA said it had not intended to cause offence to anyone who was left out of the event, which featured a wide range of people, both male and female, drawn from both communities and spanning different generations.

And Mr McGuinness responded, saying: "Jason, if we have any sense, we can't afford not to move on.

The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Pat Jennings & Mary Peters pictured
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Pat Jennings & Mary Peters pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Pat Jennings at the official opening of the Northern Ireland National Stadium. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Pat Jennings and Michael Boyd pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye James Nesbitt Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's /ni and San Marinos /sm during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's /ni and San Marinos /sm during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's /ni and San Marinos /sm during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye James Nesbitt Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Carl Frampton with his daughter Carla Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Carl Frampton pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Carl Frampton pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Carl Frampton pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Carl Frampton pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with Gerry Mallon from the Irish FA watches Northern Ireland vs San Marino Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Charlie Lawson pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Sammy McIlroy pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with Gerry Mallon from the Irish FA watches Northern Ireland vs San Marino Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with Gerry Mallon from the Irish FA watches Northern Ireland vs San Marino Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with Gerry Mallon from the Irish FA watches Northern Ireland vs San Marino Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Goal keeping Legends Harry Gregg and Pat Jennings attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Northern Ireland football stars Pat Jennings and Harry Gregg help Jay and Ellie cut the ribbon to official open the new stadium for the fans. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Northern Ireland football stars Pat Jennings and Harry Gregg help Jay and Ellie cut the ribbon to official open the new stadium for the fans. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Goal keeping Legends Harry Gregg and Pat Jennings attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Actor Jimmy Nesbitt attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 8th October FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier - Northern Ireland Vs San Marino at The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast Northern Ireland's fans. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Eamonn Holmes pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Gary Lightbody Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Gary Lightbody Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Eamonn Holmes Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Gary Lightbody Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye James Nesbitt Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye James Nesbitt Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Carl Frampton with his daughter Carla Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Carl Frampton with his daughter Carla Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Carl Frampton with his daughter Carla Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's /ni and San Marinos /sm during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's /ni and San Marinos /sm during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's /ni and San Marinos /sm during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Gerry Armstrong pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Jim Nesbitt pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Pat Jennings and Michael Boyd pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier General view of fans Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Carl Frampton pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Gerry Armstrong pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Carl Frampton pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
8 October 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Challenge Cup: Stena Line Belfast Giants v Braehead Clan at the SSE Arena Belfast. Belfast Giant Chris Higgins scores against Braehead during Saturday nights Challenge Cup game at the SSE Arena, Belfast.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening with a lap of former Northern Ireland legends. Jimmy Nesbitt pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening with a lap of former Northern Ireland legends. Jimmy Nesbitt pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Pat Jennings pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Pat Jennings & Mary Peters pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening with a lap of former Northern Ireland legends. Jimmy Nesbitt pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening with a lap of former Northern Ireland legends. Jimmy Nesbitt pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier FIFA President, Gianni Infantino at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier General view of the plaque at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Communities Minister Paul Givan is pictured with FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and Irish FA President, David Martin at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fan Anne Cullen from Donaghmore attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fans Joshua (7) and Caleb Crooks (6) from Coagh attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fans Alastair, scott and Alexandra Carnwath from Antrin attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fans Matthew Denny,David Irwin,Matthew Irwin and Rachel Walker attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fan Louise Beacom from Omagh attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fans Stephen and Sarah Cameron from Antrim attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fan Aaron Crawford from Londonderry attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fans Mark Alexander ans eight year old Adam from Armagh attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fans Joshua (7) and Caleb Crooks (6) from Coagh attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fans Alastair, scott and Alexandra Carnwath from Antrin attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness are pictured with FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and Irish FA President, David Martin at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fan Anne Cullen from Donaghmore attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fans Matthew Denny,David Irwin,Matthew Irwin and Rachel Walker attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness are pictured with Communities Minister Paul Givan, Marco Van Basten, FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and Irish FA President, David Martin before the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 8th October FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier - Northern Ireland Vs San Marino at The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast Northern Ireland's in the new kopstand Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 8th October FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier - Northern Ireland Vs San Marino at The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast Northern Ireland's fans(left to right) Richard Kennedy, John Clarke, Joesph Rea(6) and Laura Clarke from Comber Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 8th October FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier - Northern Ireland Vs San Marino at The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast Northern Ireland's fans. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Jimmy Nesbitt pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Jimmy Nesbitt pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Eamonn Holmes pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Gary McAllister pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 8th October FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier - Northern Ireland Vs San Marino at The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast Northern Ireland fan and presenter Colin Murray Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier First Minister Arlene Foster, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Irish FA President, David Martin and FIFA President, Gianni Infantino pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Actor Charlie Lawson pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Actor Charlie Lawson pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Actor Charlie Lawson pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Actor Charlie Lawson pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Actor Charlie Lawson pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Actor Charlie Lawson pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Actor Charlie Lawson pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye World Champion Boxer Carl Frampton attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Golfer Rory McIIroy attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland team The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Actor Jimmy Nesbitt attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Goal keeping Legends Harry Gregg and Pat Jennings attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland’s Jonny Evans and San Marino’s Matteo Coppini during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Fans enjoy the match. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Jimmy Nesbitt. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Fans enjoy the match. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Northern Ireland football stars Pat Jennings and Harry Gregg help Jay and Ellie cut the ribbon to official open the new stadium for the fans. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Carl Frampton along with Gerry Armstrong. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Fans enjoy the match. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Fans enjoy the match. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Charlie Lawson. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Jimmy Nesbitt. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Jimmy Nesbitt. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye

"Your contribution has been immense and must be recognised and appreciated."

Smyth, a legally blind sprint runner, is a twice double gold medallist and a world record holder in the 100 metres and 200 metres.

The 29-year-old won his fifth gold medal at the Paralympics in Rio last month.

He told the Belfast Telegraph he was disappointed that he and McKillop were not included alongside Firth and Gallagher.

"We've all been successful, we have all won gold medals. To me, looking at it, the biggest difference is really who we compete for," he said. "Hopefully that isn't it, but looking at it, that would definitely be the assumption.

"Maybe I'm assuming wrong, but it's not about success, it's not about what you've achieved in this instance."

He added: "There were lots of top people there from Northern Ireland and lots of people who weren't there.

"But I was looking at it from the perspective of Paralympics, and we have four Paralympic athletes who have done very well over the last number of years - myself, Kelly, Bethany and Michael McKillop.

"My question was just trying to figure out how come two of us were there and two of us weren't.

"We are all from Northern Ireland and we've all achieved a lot of success."

Smyth said he didn't consider himself either Protestant or Catholic.

"For me, sport is about achieving, about being successful and inspiring people," he added.

McKillop, who has won four gold medals at three Paralympic events, said: "It's really unfortunate. It's very disappointing on my part because I represent the island of Ireland and I always state that whenever I compete.

"I would have loved to have attended. I'm a massive sports fan and I've been to many Northern Ireland matches in the past.

"You could say it's coming down to politics and who you compete for and that's really unfortunate because I've always represented the island. Politics should never come into sport. It's a sad scenario people have found themselves in."

The BBC reported that Olympic boxers Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan, both from Team Ireland, did not receive invitations.

An Irish FA spokesman said: "The idea of the lap of legends was to bring some famous fans from the world of sport, TV and music together in one place, along with other supporters and the football family, to celebrate the opening of the new National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.

"There was a short 20-minute window in which to stage the event, so we were limited in terms of the number of people that we could invite.

"We did not intend to cause any offence to Jason or anyone else who was not part of the pre-match event.

"The Irish FA would be delighted to welcome Jason to the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in the future."

Belfast Telegraph

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From Belfast Telegraph