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Northern Ireland family's ire as diving hero Daniel Goodfellow left out of the picture by UK's press

By Nevin Farrell

Published 11/08/2016

Debbie Donaghy, a relative of Olympic bronze winner Daniel Goodfellow, watches him on TV from her Coleraine home
Debbie Donaghy, a relative of Olympic bronze winner Daniel Goodfellow, watches him on TV from her Coleraine home
The medal-winning duo in action
Tom Daley (right) and Daniel Goodfellow with their bronze medals
How some of the front pages reported the Olympic win
How some of the front pages reported the Olympic win

The Northern Ireland family of Olympic medallist Daniel Goodfellow have told of their pride at his success - and their anger that he has been frozen out of media coverage.

Daniel (19) sprang to fame when he won a bronze medal in Rio this week alongside Tom Daley in the 10m synchronised diving event.

But while Daley featured on the front pages of many national newspapers on Tuesday, his diving partner was largely ignored, and even cropped out of the photograph by some newspapers.

Daniel's family are originally from Coleraine and cousin Debbie Donaghy said they had all been rooting for him.

Daniel used to visit Debbie's home at Spencer Row in the Heights area of Coleraine when he was a child along with his mum Sharon (nee Baxter) who moved from Coleraine to England a number of years ago.

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The diving superstar is the grandson of the late George and Elizabeth Baxter. George passed away on January 11 this year.

And Debbie (46) revealed how Daniel's success helped lift her spirits after a year of family tragedies.

"We have had a really hard year with my aunt Shirley, uncle George, stepfather Nevin Clarke and mother Margaret Clarke - who passed away on June 4 and June 7 - all dying this year but Daniel's success has brought a bit of joy," she said.

"We were glued in. The whole family in all the different houses in Coleraine were all watching it. It was amazing when he got a medal, absolutely amazing, we couldn't believe it.

"Daniel used to come to us at Christmas. He spent many a time here. When we saw him on TV I was saying to my husband 'where did that wee boy go that used to jump around in our house?'

"He would have been about five or six at the time. They came over at Christmas with their mum and dad.

"We have followed his career closely and as soon as he got that medal I went straight on to Facebook to congratulate him."

And Debbie was keen to back up cousin Sharon - Daniel's mum - who raged against sections of the media for leaving the medal winner off the front pages, instead concentrating on his famous partner Daley.

Said Debbie: "We were gutted. I had seen that the night before and then straight away his mum had tweeted. I was at work 13 hours yesterday but I believe there was a lot of stuff going on. His mum was on the radio and called in to the tv."

Sharon Goodfellow had hit out at newspapers after some did not feature her son in photographs of the pair's success. Sharon was quoted in the media as saying she was "surprised" a number of papers featured only Daley on their front and back pages.

However, Daniel said: "To me it doesn't really matter."

His mother initially took to Twitter to express her disappointment with some of the media coverage of her son.

But speaking on ITV's This Morning on Tuesday, Ms Goodfellow said her son, who grew up in Cambridgeshire, was "happy to stay in the background".

She said she was still "quite in shock" after watching the 19-year-old and partner Daley (22) take the medal.

Ms Goodfellow, who has since taken to Twitter to thank people for their support, said: "It had all gone a bit viral. As people have pointed out, it's a synchro competition and you can't really have one diver singled out. People were a bit confused."

The focus on Daley at the expense of Daniel drew widespread criticism on social media.

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