Shane Ferguson – Which Ireland To Play For?

Shane Ferguson made his senior debut for Northern Ireland when he came on as a substitute in the 3–0 friendly defeat to Italy on 6th June,  2009 in Pisa.

Shane Ferguson – in action for Newcastle

But we were told by one reader in the Emerald Isle a couple of weeks ago, that there were rumblings over there, that the 19 year-old could switch his allegiance to Ireland from Northern Ireland.

That’s very interesting because would you believe that Northern Ireland meet Ireland in the Nations Cup on May 24th in Dublin, so if Shane is involved in that game, a good question is which side will it be for?

Shane was asked last week about his International future and he didn’t reveal too much:

“I’m just focusing on training hard and working hard with Newcastle United at the moment.” “That’s what I did during the international fortnight.”

“I’ve had some games recently with the Northern Ireland Under-21s, but other than that I’ll just keep aiming to do well for my club and see what happens.”

Ferguson was born in Derry, Northern Ireland back in July, 1991, and the word coming out of the Newcastle camp, is that Shane is contemplating his international future,  and thinking of switching to play for Ireland.

It turns out that FIFA  indicated two years ago that a player holding an Irish passport, could also play for Ireland, if they had not played a competitive game in either the European Championships or the World Cup.

Since Shane’s only cap is that friendly defeat against Italy, he seems to qualify, and certainly Ireland’s Italian manager Giovanni Trappatoni seems keen to get the 19 year-old into his squad.

On 12th November last year, Preston’s 20 year-old Adam Barton was called up for the Northern Ireland friendly against Morocco,  and played the full 90 minutes.

But then last month more question marks were raised about his International future, when Adam was called up for the Ireland U21 side to play Portugal, and he  made his debut for the Ireland Under-21 team against Portugal on 26th March.

So it looks like Barton has changed his allegiance, and that’s the precedent that Shane Ferguson could well follow.

It was surprising that Ferguson didn’t even make the bench for Northern Ireland’s last two European 2012 qualifiers, with a defeat in Serbia followed by a 0-0 draw against Slovenia, at Windsor Park .

Certainly over the last few decades or so Ireland has been a much better International side than Northern Ireland, and Ireland did qualify for the World Cup under manager Mick McCarthy back in 2002, and of course Shay Given was in the squad.

That’s when former Manchester United and Ireland captain Roy Keane was sent home in disgrace,  after launching a blue verbal tirade at Mick McCarthy during a training session, criticizing his manager’s abilities.

How’s that for being helpful?

We expect Shane to make the switch, but we’ll follow this story closely.

Comments welcome.

30 comments so far

  • Darryl

    Apr 4, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #1

    Why would you choose N.Ireland over Ireland? No offence, but if i had an option or anyone else.. the majority would choose Ireland.

  • sweendog

    Apr 4, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    Comment #2

    no contest .. Ireland .. if it wasn’t for bigoted N.I fans he may choose N.I .. shame..

  • ToonBry

    Apr 4, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Comment #3

    Shane will be a great player for us in the future. Brilliant natural skill and pace which is what we need.

    Also i noticed on a few previous blogs that people are still bashing Pardew??? I mean really? What the hell?
    The man has done great for us with a whole cast of injuries and suspensions. He had his main striker betray the club and leave us in trouble even though he said before joining that he wanted the right to leave if Carroll was sold (awesome business it was as Carroll wasn’t anywhere near a £35m striker).
    People say he had a rubbish past but come on how thick can people be!???!? He took a CRAP team like West Ham to a European spot and the FA cup final to only lose on penalties and brought in good players for them. He did his best to save Charlton which he did well at considering they were a MASSIVE shambles when he got there and then he took Southampton to almost getting promotion and actually winning the JP Trophy even though they were in huge trouble, had half a squad and had a huge 10pt deduction. I think he’s the perfect manager for the Toon and has done really well. HWTL!

  • Davies

    Apr 4, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #4

    Toonbry – I don’t know about Perfect, but I’m still supporting the manager. Next season will be the one that defines him as a manager for a lot of the fans, but as long as he keeps us up this season, he’ll have done a good job.

  • Alinufc

    Apr 4, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #5

    sad day for NI.. they coudl actually have ahalf decent team if rep ireland didnt keep nabbing players (im not actualy irish just saying it)

    darren gibson for example was NI and plays rep of ireland

  • ToonDownSouth

    Apr 4, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    Comment #6

    I really hope the kid keeps the confidence to produce moments of flair and trickery like he did against Stoke. We were three down and he gave us all something to smile about.

    That skill may fade out over time though, as it’s something very very rarely seen in British players.

  • NIMagpie1

    Apr 4, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #7

    You kids should maybe stick to chatting about the club in the title NUFC.

    Sweendog what do you know of NI bigots?

    The guy was born in NI, I’m guessing both his parents where born in NI he should play for NI simple! Sectarianism is almost 100% gone in NI football, there always will be a few idiots but there always is, anywhere.

  • ToonBry

    Apr 4, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #8

    Well said Davies

  • Sav

    Apr 4, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    Comment #9

    Echo that about Pards, ToonBry. the guy has hardly put a foot wrong as far as I’m concerned and I wasn’t overjoyed either when CH was sacked.

    As for Ferguson I’d love to see him turn out for Ireland but I’m biased.

  • Brutooon

    Apr 4, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    Comment #10

    If he choose ireland, he may got more competitors..

    If he choose North Ireland, he will be an automatic selection for the next 10 yrs (despite he success in Nufc or not)

  • sweendog

    Apr 4, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Comment #11

    NIMagpie1 .. seen it first hand .. wish it wasn’t there but what can you do when you’re being called feenan b. etc etc.. .. thats why N.Irish players play from the republic .. 1st and foremost .. maybe if they stopped playing in windsor and actually banned some of the chanting N.I could be supported by both sides of the community.

    As for shane ferguson .. quality young player ..

  • NIMagpie1

    Apr 4, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    Comment #12

    Are you Northern Irish then? My experience is that sectarianism still only really remains with the remaining dinosaurs we call our forefathers and the inner city/town housing estates and ‘communities’

    The majority of reasonably thinking people and supporters want to have a sense of independent belonging to NI and our own culture. Not clinging onto the UK or Rep.Irish

    I go to Windsor park and its a great atmosphere, but yes I agree it is in one of those areas I mentioned and maybe the whole country would benefit from a more neutral venue. I attend the matches with a mix of religions, but I do accept maybe we are a little more liberal than some others.

    But as another post said, how good would NI be if the RoI didnt keep using the ‘sectarian loophole’ to steal our young players?

  • Flan

    Apr 4, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    Comment #13

    Maybe if the north didn’t play god save the queen as their “national anthem” before each game these young catholic players wouldn’t have to switch allegiances to the south. After the way Neil Lennon paddy mc court and paddy mc ginn have been treated by “fans” from the north who can blame them.

  • Burni

    Apr 4, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    Comment #14

    Ni Magpie

    nice to meet you mate, never seen you on here before.

    I know nothing of sectarianism in NI or how that affects the players but you have made a good point about this issue in ur comment.

    you said “how good would NI be if the RoI didnt keep using the ‘sectarian loophole’ to steal our young players?”

    youve gotta ask yourself mate, why would so many leave to go to RoI if it wasnt as bad as sween is claiming….

    just my opinion.

  • belfastgeordie87

    Apr 4, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #15

    what a load of rubbish sweendog,there is pleny of catholics who play for northern ireland,and when was the last time you went to a northern ireland match?????the only catholic player who ever got abuse was neil lennon,because he was a staunch republican bigot,who was calling rangers fans orange bastards etc every time he played against them,he made himself a hate figure for protestants then cryed when he got abuse,keep to your own politics in future!!!

  • NIMagpie1

    Apr 4, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    Comment #16

    Flan, just how have Pat McCourt and Paddy McGinn been treated? I think you would like them to have been treated wrongly so you could make your point. Neil Lennon was a long time ago, and as I said there will always be a few idiots and there has been much said and learned about that incident. You seem to forget NI heroes like Pat Jennings, Martin O’Neill, Gerry Armstrong. These where the ‘heroes’ at the height of the divide.

    Burni, I have been a long time reader. But yeah that is a fair point, perhaps these players have came from a side of the community that favors one side or the other, maybe they are looking at it in a professional manor where for the RoI has a better reputation on the international level is recent years. I work with young people from inner city communities everyday, and some of these kids have never even met people from ‘the other side’ and I see a fear in them of what they don’t know.

    Maybe we can take similarities to the AC situation where for he was a born and raised geordie, yet he felt it was in his interest to leave his home town team. In my opinion much of that is down to the people who influenced him.

    All I can say is that not much is going to change over in NI if everyone has to have a side.

    p.s as for the national anthem, what else would you have us do? sing danny boy? Many of us would accept something similar to what the rugby has done with Ireland’s Call.

  • sweendog

    Apr 4, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #17

    belfastgeordie87 .. very interesting you’re highlighting what I’m saying but not realising .. this isn’t to do with Celtic/Rangers, Lennon/McCoist .. its to do with the N.I fans .. and yes I’ve heard the chants first hand .. did you go to the N.I – Scotland match?????

    Back to Shane ferguson.. good player with a big future ..

  • sweendog

    Apr 4, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    Comment #18

    NIMagpie1 .. some very good points there .. 🙂 .. I remember supporting NI when Jennings etc played .. everybody did .. unfortunately times have changed due to a small minority, but I’m sure you’re aware if you’re catholic you don’t go to windsor as there will always be some dodgy comments ..

  • ddmacker

    Apr 4, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    Comment #19

    I’m glad that Shane is playing well and I hope that he declares for the Republic. The FIA&IFA should join up just like the rugby, it might make a fair team but whether the kid’s from Derry or Londonderry dos’nt matter as long as he’s playing well for Newcastle United.

  • chuck

    Apr 4, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    Comment #20

    Truth is the Norn Iron side is still dominated and run as an Ulster Loyalist side, with catholic players still verbally abused by a mostly loyalist crowd.
    The fact anyone born on the island of Ireland is entitled to an Irish passport, it`s understandable why certain youngsters elect to play for the Republic, away from the abuses and controversy of playing for the Northern Statelet.
    My personal opinion is there should be a combined squad as in rugby, where the problem of national anthems is avoided by all joining in a rendition of “Irelands Call”.
    Think of what could have been, Pat Jennings, George best, Liam Brady etc all playing in the same side.
    There have recently been inter league games where, teams from both sides have played in competition.
    But unfortunately the will to combine into one National side as has taken place in rugby, is just not there.

  • Flan

    Apr 4, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    Comment #21

    Mc court and mc ginn got bullets in the post! Don’t recall anyother player in that squad getting similar treatment!

  • NIMagpie1

    Apr 4, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    Comment #22

    You seem to forget the pressure that is on young Catholic’s within their community to reject certain institutions viewed as Protestant. If the mindset is not changed how will there ever be integration? Integration should start at school level, I feel in this way the fear element will be reduced and we can move on.

    Example of this VERY evident this weekend with a car bomb killing a young catholic man. WHY? Because he is a catholic and should have rejected the Protestant PSNI whom he worked for! This is the views of a portion of NI. On what ever side. Sad thing is this portion is not all in one place, it is not in some secret underground base, it is our neighbors, people we pass on the street everyday.

    Some of the older people in NI should be ashamed of themselves, they are still living in the past, not allowing the youth of today to make a liberal choice, forcing there respective or dis-respective opinions upon their young.

    Rugby was always a united irish sport, football was segregated many years ago. Not NI’s choice may I add.

  • IrishMagpie

    Apr 4, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    Comment #23

    As a Newcastle and Ireland fan i’d love to see Ferguson play for Ireland in the future.
    I’ve really liked what i’ve seen from him so far, he’s shown a lot of promise.

    Ireland are ok at the minute, not a bad first 11 but we have feck all in the way of backup if we get injuries or suspensions so players like Ferguson coming along would be a big bonus.

    PS. Ed, Keane made a genuine complaint about poor conditions and unprofessionalism and was right in what he said, he just went about it the wrong way.

  • NIMagpie1

    Apr 4, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Comment #24

    As for the Bullets in the post, was there a big protestant stamp of approval on them? Again it could have been any idiot sent it, on what ever side, some people just like the fight, the conflict and the craic of causing mayhem. The controversy I mentioned earlier with the Lennon incident was there was no way to prove who phoned in the threat. I also remember the windsor pk crowd that night after we lost chanting ‘theres only one neil lennon’

    Again some people view this all as fun. Sad but true.

  • G

    Apr 4, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Comment #25

    I did 3 tours of NI during the troubles, with only the odd xmas cease fire for respite, I got shot at once, and blown up twice, and yes I have the scars to prove it. Shane Fergusson in my opinion should commit to whichever Ireland he feels he should be loyal too, and it is his choice alone. Sectarianism (or as it is more correctly known, racketeering, fraud, corruption and murder) has absolutely no place in sport.

  • Crawfordladd17

    Apr 4, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Comment #26

    I know he is a Catholic(Boo) for sure(because he when 2 a Catholic school in my town) If he plays for NI we will have unreal defense

  • roitoon1

    Apr 4, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Comment #27

    Guys its a nufc site. Obviously by my name Im biased. But Trap and co make me sick. Pennant nolan Fergie ohara etc etc are not Irish why do we want them to play for us? 17 of our squad were born outside Ireland at usa 94. We should be called the united nations not Roi! Id prefer to have Irish players doing poorly than non Irish players doing well for us! My opinion~ Im entitled to it. Lets not put added pressure in Fergie. He’ll do what good for him…. Quality at the week end

  • jacko505

    Apr 4, 2011 at 11:33 PM

    Comment #28

    I’m new on here but have followed the site for a long time now.
    Can i just say that reading all the comments on here today i feel that there are some people on here who are more than happy to live in the past and go over the same old rhetoric that has kept northern ireland in the situation it is in. grow up and move on. i was born and bred in northern ireland and grew up there during the troubles.
    there are bigots on both sides which can be clearly seen on here.
    live and let live. i hope the kid plays for northern ireland but if not, good luck to him.
    regarding the national anthem and following suit to the rugby i don’t agree, as the republics national anthem is also played after it.
    on a final note, what about the young policeman blown up in omagh this week? a young catholic executed by members of the catholic faith. absolutely disgusting.
    lets get back to what this site is about.


    Apr 11, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Comment #29

    Shock horror Irish man wants to play for Ireland. Of course he should play for Ireland. The reason for this happening is due to the awful bigots that are the north Ireland fans, they are now paying for the years of abuse and vile chants that are all to come place at their ground. The Republic are not stealing these players, these lads come to them, they want to represent a country that they feel a part of and not some glorified orange order pub team. Look at the sickening treatment of Neill Lennon, Paddy McCarthy and Neill McGinn, bullets through the post because they play for Celtic. I look forward to more of these lads playing for their country the Republic of Ireland where they will be supported no matter what colour or creed they are and let’s hope the north fans try and come out of the 19th century although I very much doubt it such a rotten lot they are.

  • jacko505

    Apr 12, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    Comment #30

    in reply to toonlad1,
    i really think you should check out some of the facts you have posted on here.
    firstly its paddy mccourt and niall mcginn.
    secondly, no matter how much you seem to believe the hollywood notion of a downtrodden people, there are scumbags on both sides and always have been.
    on another point, maybe you should go back to school. northern ireland is a seperate country. this was agreed to by the irish people in 1922. the have a seperate government and they also use the euro not pounds sterling. so as you claim that they would want to play for their country the republic of ireland, would it not be right to say ireland. on top of that its northern ireland not north.
    if you are going to comment on something like this get your facts right. thats been a big part of the problem over the years.
    i would just like to re-itterate that i wish the lad all the best whatever his choice.


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