"You feel as if I was Engl...

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"You feel as if I was English with an Irish grandmother, I'd have much more of a chance"


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The cases of Declan Rice and previously Jack Grealish have put the issue of eligibility in the spotlight when it comes to Ireland international footballers.

Both, like many predecessors that have represented the Republic of Ireland either at youth level or at senior level, were born in the UK and that outlet of players with Irish heritage has been a huge positive for Ireland during major tournaments and other eras.

Cork City striker Karl Sheppard joined Joe Molloy and Daniel McDonnell on the show and he shared his own thoughts on the wider issue.

The 27-year-old Dubliner was capped at Ireland under-21 level and had his perspective from the League of Ireland route.

"One of the proudest moments of my career was getting an under-21 cap," he said.

Full interview on the podcast player:

"You feel as if I was English with an Irish grandmother, I'd have much more of a chance"

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

"I only got that under-21 cap because when I was playing in League of Ireland and I was doing very well at Shamrock Rovers, the only reason I got that under-21 cap was we'd done something completely out of the ordinary which was qualify for the Europa League and I still didn't get a call-up then.

"It took me to score in the Europa League to be able to get that call-up to the under-21s. 

"I was there playing men's football, scoring goals actually in Europe and then you had lads who were playing under-21, under-20 reserves football over there and you come into the squad and you're going, 'These [lads] must be very good, I haven't got a cap yet', and then you're going, 'Woah, how are these lads in ahead of me and so many League of Ireland players and so many under-21 Irish players that I would have played with growing up'.

"And you're going, 'Something's not right here'. You feel as if I was English and I had an Irish grandmother, I'd have much more of a chance getting into the squad than being an Irish young lad coming through."


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