Belfast Telegraph

O’Kane reveals reasons for Republic switch

By Graham Luney

Eunan O'Kane has outlined the reasons why he snubbed Northern Ireland to pledge his allegiance to the Republic.

The Torquay United midfielder is the latest player who has progressed through the ranks of the Northern Ireland youth system to jump ship.

Despite earning four caps at Northern Ireland Under-21 level, the former Coleraine player is now looking south with regard to his international future.

The 21-year-old refuted suggestions that religion played any part in his decision to change course.

“They obviously go straight to religion but I can't stress enough that that's got nothing to do with it,” argued O’Kane.

“I just felt my opportunity wasn't going to come playing for Northern Ireland and the Republic have come and asked me to come and join them, so it's kind of a no-brainer to take the decision to the country that want you.

“I just want to play football and if the Republic are going to give me that chance then I'm prepared to take it.”

He added: “If people are going to go down that line and say that it's a religious thing for me then I'm not worried.

“Anybody that knows me or has grown up with me knows that that's got nothing to do with it.”

O’Kane has donned Northern Ireland colours at every age level since under-16s.

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