Belfast Telegraph

Republic won't be too app-y over Euro 2012 iPhone gaffe

By Claire McNeilly

They come from the same island and wear the same green and white strip.

But who would have thought it possible to confuse the Northern Ireland football team with the neighbouring Republic of Ireland squad?

Well, that’s exactly the embarrassing gaffe made by the designers behind Uefa’s official Euro 2012 iPhone app for the Republic, who qualified for the tournament after beating Estonia comprehensively in a two-leg play-off.

The European Championships will be played in Poland and Ukraine this summer.

But instead of using a picture of Giovanni Trapattoni’s men for illustration purposes, a photograph of the Norn Iron boys looms large.

The photo, taken at a friendly match in Italy in 2009, includes Northern Ireland’s top goal scorer David Healy.

Also featured is ex-Birmingham and Blackburn player Damien Johnson, who hung up his boots for good when he retired 18 months ago.

Members of the current squad include midfielders Grant Mc Cann and Corry Evans, goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey and defender Ryan McGivern.

All four will be at Windsor Park next week when new Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill takes charge of the team against Norway.

It will be O’Neill’s first match after replacing Nigel Worthington who stepped down amid much publicity last October.

Beneath the picture of the squad there is a short paragraph explaining the history of the Republic, who are managed by Italy’s Trapattoni.

“The Republic of Ireland national football team represents Ireland in association football,” it reads. “It is run by the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and currently plays home fixtures at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, which opened in May 2010. “The team made its debut at the 1924 Summer Olympics, reaching the quarter-finals, it also participated at the 1948 Summer Olympics.”

Geoff Wilson, spokesman for the Irish Football Association (IFA), the governing body in Northern Ireland, stood up for the designers.

“Someone has made a genuine error; sometimes these things happen,” said Mr Wilson.

Meanwhile, Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters’ Club spokesman Gary McAllister reacted a little more mischievously.

“It’s nice to know that when people think of Irish football it’s the Northern Ireland team that first comes to mind,” he said.

Belfast Telegraph


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