FOOTBALL: Sunderland footballer James McClean has laughed off the sectarian abuse he received after he was named in the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 squad.
The 23-year-old winger, who comes from Derry, had been targeted with threats via Twitter after national team manager Giovanni Trapattoni picked him for next month's finals in Poland and Ukraine.
McClean also received congratulations from supporters but some messages contained threats to kill.
McClean, who carries an Irish passport, responded to his abusers with a tongue-in-cheek response.
He tweeted: "Love the dogs' abuse am gettin off shock N.I fans, just worry about watchin ur own country at the euros... oh wait #mybad #awkward haha."
East Derry MP Gregory Campbell said it was "reprehensible that anybody's life is threatened by whatever decisions they take."
He added: "Hopefully we can get beyond that and get on with the tournament and people can support whatever team they feel comfortable supporting."
SDLP assembly member Conall McDevitt joined in the condemnation.
"Football is one of the most amazing sports in the world. We need to unite behind players who are going to lay their bodies on the line... and not think about the politics."
McClean, who formerly represented Northern Ireland at Under 21 level, said he was delighted at the call-up.
McClean tweeted: "Absolutely honoured and couldn't be happier to have been called up to represent my country at the Euros. No better feeling."
He added: "To be called up to represent Ireland has always been a personal dream of mine and to be associated with players who I have watched myself is very special.
"I can't wait to join up with the squad and start to focus on the Championships."