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Football heroes in awe of King Carl Frampton

By David Kelly

Northern Ireland football heroes Gareth McAuley and Michael O'Neill led the praise for Carl Frampton after his World title unification victory over Scott Quigg at the Manchester Arena.

McAuley, along with Kyle Lafferty, Josh Magennis and Stuart Dallas, led Frampton to the ring and the big defender admitted he was in awe of the little maestro.

McAuley said: "We were all nervous and when we walked out we had goosebumps - there was nerves and adrenaline.

"When we got in the ring and they announced him the noise came right up through us. What an achievement this is for him.

"He was his typical self, playing down that he is a national hero but he is and everyone is proud - it's a great honour to have been asked to come along."

McAuley drew parallels with the night Northern Ireland defeated Greece to qualify for Euro 2016. He said: "The crowd came and took over, it was incredible."

Northern Ireland boss O'Neill also admitted that he felt more nervous than on that special night at Windsor when Frampton was in the stands.

O'Neill said: "I was feeling very nervous because I know how much Carl puts into it. I thought he was well on top. Carl showed that little bit extra class.

"It was worse for me watching this than our boys, I was very nervous. Carl appeals to everyone in Northern Ireland. He's something for us to be proud of."

World super-middleweight king James DeGale was at ringside and had no doubt over the result. He said: "Frampton won handily. He can go to America and get all the titles."

Belfast Telegraph

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