Belfast Telegraph

BBC's Noel Thompson defends Republic of Ireland coverage: 'Obvious' why it covers 'foreign' football team

By Jonathan Bell

The BBC's Noel Thompson has defended the broadcaster's coverage of the Republic of Ireland's 5-1 defeat to Denmark.

Flagship morning show Good Morning Ulster had extensive coverage of the defeat which saw Martin O'Neill's side fail to reach the finals in Russia next summer.

As well as match reports on the game the show had fans' reaction from Dublin and Belfast as well as analysis from sports journalists throughout the morning.

"Think what GMU would have been like if ROI had won!" tweeted TUV leader Jim Allister.

At the end of the Radio Ulster show presenter Noel Thompson said a number of listeners had been in touch about the coverage.

One listener, Joe, texted the show to ask why so much time was "devoted" to covering a "foreign football team".

"Well Joe I thought it would be obvious," said Mr Thompson.

"There are a lot of people who live in Northern Ireland who listen to this programme who would be avid supporters of the Republic of Ireland football team.

"Some would of course support both the Republic and Northern Ireland team and the BBC is very happy and in fact has a duty to reflect those people's interests and to let them know what is going on.

"They are our very valued listeners."

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