Belfast Telegraph

Lightbody defends football support

Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody has defended cheering on the Republic of Ireland during Euro2012.

The Northern Ireland-born singer, a fully fledged supporter of his home country, has been attacked online for supporting both sides.

"I'm a Northern Ireland supporter for sure," he told the Press Association.

"But the Republic of Ireland are in this tournament and I'm getting behind them. It's a tricky subject but they would always be my second team. I've not really seen too many reasons for me not to support them but I know other people have their reasons."

Lightbody faced a raft of online abuse after declaring on Twitter support for the Republic, his second team, as he says.

"All my tweets are just about spreading love," he said. "I'm green and white army, no doubt, but I'll also support the Republic when they play."

He said he hoped the Republic would win Euro2012 and also used Twitter to say he "had enough politics growing up in Northern Ireland in the eighties. I like to try and spread joy now. Life is short."

Lightbody and bandmates guitarist Nathan Connolly, bassist Paul Wilson, drummer Jonny Quinn and keyboardist Tom Simpson met the Ireland team in Sopot before playing a concert to about 2,000 fans, half of them were green jerseys.

The singer followed that up by calling on Ireland fans to see the band play at a charity gig at the Centrum Stocznia Gdanska, an old warehouse in the shipyard where German u-boats were built in the Second World War 2.

Snow Patrol had wanted to play on the day of the Ireland-Spain match but had to reschedule due to commitments at a festival in Finland.

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