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Last Updated: Friday, 14 September 2007, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Ireland sorry after Republic lie
Stephen Ireland
Stephen Ireland withdrew from the squad to play the Czech Republic
Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland has apologised for lying about the reason for his withdrawal from the Republic of Ireland squad.

Ireland pulled out of the Wednesday's match in the Czech Republic shortly after Saturday's draw with Slovakia.

The midfielder cited the death of a grandparent when in fact his girlfriend had suffered a miscarriage.

"I realise now that it was a massive mistake on my part and I deeply regret it," said Ireland.

In a statement on City's official website Ireland explained: "When the game in Bratislava ended our manager Stephen Staunton took me outside the dressing room into the corridor, along with the Ireland team doctor.

"He told me that they had taken a call from my girlfriend, Jessica, and she said my grandmother had died.

I decided at that stage that I must tell truth and admit I had told lies

Stephen Ireland

"I was deeply shocked because I believed it was my maternal grandmother who had brought me up from when I was five.

"The manager went back into the dressing room to get my phone and when I got it I immediately rang my girlfriend to get more details.

"My girlfriend was distraught and explained that she had just suffered a miscarriage.

"Jessica said she was very lonely and wanted me to come home. She said she thought they might let me home quicker if they thought my grandmother had died.

"When I finished the call I told the manager and doctor that my grandmother had died and because we were very close I wanted to go home immediately.

"The manager said that was no problem and he would get the FAI to sort it out.

"The FAI hired a private jet to get me home and I flew out of Bratislava the following morning. Before I left I told the FAI media officer that the name of my grandmother was Patricia Tallon.

"Early on Monday morning I got a phone call from Stephen Staunton telling me that the FAI had discovered my grandmother in Cork was not dead.

"He wanted to know what was going on and I told him that there had been a mistake and it had been my father's mother. I told him her name was Brenda Kitchener, that she lived in London.

"Jessica and I were still very upset over the miscarriage so we flew home to Ireland for a few days.

I have learnt a valuable lesson from this mess

Stephen Ireland

"On Thursday, I got a phone call from Manchester City stating that the FAI had discovered that my grandmother, Brenda Kitchener, was also alive.

"I decided at that stage that I must tell truth and admit I had told lies.

"The miscarriage that Jessica suffered last Saturday has caused both of us a lot of heartache and had caused us both to panic.

"It was wrong and I sincerely apologise, particularly as I caused a lot of problems for many people.

"I would like to apologise to my grandmothers and all my family for any distress I have caused them.

"Ireland manager Stephen Staunton, my Ireland team-mates, the backroom staff and the FAI also deserve my profound apologies.

"I truly appreciate that the extraordinary lengths they went to put my welfare first and ensure I got home from Slovakia as quickly as possible.

"I am also sorry for causing Manchester City any embarrassment.

"I love playing for my country and am grateful for the understanding Mr Staunton and the FAI have shown to me since I told them the truth.

"I have learnt a valuable lesson from this mess and hope those I have hurt by my actions will forgive me."

Czech Republic 1-0 Rep of Ireland
12 Sep 07 |  Internationals


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