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Stuart McCloskey reacts to rumour he rejected Ireland call to watch Northern Ireland at Euro 2016



Ulster's Stuart McCloskey

Ulster's Stuart McCloskey

Ulster's Stuart McCloskey

If Ulster star Stuart McCloskey has learnt to accept the, at times, disappointing intricacies of Ireland selection as he moves through his career, his supporters have seemed to carry on the fight.

His more recent omissions, especially now in the face of what may well be his best ever provincial form, continue to cause a stir online.

So curious do some find his case, though, that a popular, if far-fetched, social media rumour would have you believe that his card is forever marked for turning down a call to South Africa four summers ago in favour of following Northern Ireland's fortunes at Euro 2016.

Despite family members having done their best to set the record straight in the past, still it persists whenever he finds himself left out of a panel.

"Yeah, that's not true at all," he says with half a laugh.

"It's been almost spoken into existence. People believe that 'no smoke without fire' thing, that if enough people say it, it must be true.

"I was on holiday, on stand-by, and obviously very disappointed not to be on the tour.

"I remember seeing somebody say it online, on some account I can't remember and, I actually checked my phone to make sure that Joe hadn't been trying to ring me, like I was actually going through my call log just to be sure.

"I messaged the account that put it up just saying 'Look, that's not true and if you could stop saying it, that would be great.'

"To be fair to them, they did, and did it without saying that I had told them, but it's been a weird one. It just shows you that there can be absolutely no truth to something but that if enough people say it, enough people will start to believe it.

"But no, nothing to do with why I wasn't playing...that was more Joe (Schmidt - former Ireland coach) I think."

Belfast Telegraph