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'I wasn't important enough' | Noel Hunt on Italy goal he feels was his

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

22:27 31 Mar 2020

Noel Hunt believes that the crucial goal in Bari against Italy was his - not Robbie Keane's - and he was advised against making a big deal of it.

Both Hunt and Keane claimed the goal in the aftermath of the game in April 2009, although Hunt was initially none-the-wiser about Keane laying claim to the strike.

The aftermath, with some interference from bureaucrats, has stuck with Hunt.

"I remember being in the shower we were going through it, after the game. Me and John O'Shea were talking. He was buzzing, it was just sheer delight because he’s a Waterford man and I’m a Waterford man.
"I came out doing the interviews, saying I scored and then I was told Robbie had come out and was saying he'd scored.
"I thought 'hang on a minute'. It kinda caught me on the hop and then I’d say I was probably in a bit of shock over the next day over what happened.
"That is when Stephen came to me and said be careful how you deal with this, it could cause friction in the camp. It could be the end of my international career.
"So I took that on board, probably a bit too much. I remember getting a phone call from the FAI the day after."
Hunt remembers the chat: "This is a tough one but if you go out and start making a ruckus of this it might jeopardise your international career.
"I remember losing the head with him and saying what are you doing? What do you know? Have you ever scored for your country
"He said 'no', so I said 'don’t talk to me, you’ve got no idea what I’m feeling right now.'
"How [could they] dare try explain that to me or try to justify what you are trying to do to me.
"So that was it, so I thought so I just leave it go with the off chance that I’ll get another chance and I’ll score again for Ireland.
"That’s the way I went with it, when I probably shouldn’t have.
"I should have just stood my ground and said this was wrong I felt a bit hard done by. I still did
"I was very bitter about it all up until about three or four years ago,I remember going to see someone and speaking to them.
"I had someone I spoke to about my football, a psychologist or a psychiatrist, or whatever you want to call it.
"I spoke to her about it in great depth because it frustrated me that much, that it could happen, that I couldn’t let it go.
"I was more angry at myself for leaving it go and letting these people dictate to me what I knew was wrong.
"I had nothing against Robbie, he’s still a hero of mine.  It’s just the fact these people were afraid to upset the apple cart because it was him, whereas maybe if it was someone else  they would have gone to a [dubious goals committee.]
"I wasn’t important enough to be dealt with [by them.]

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Read more about

Bari Giovanni Trapattoni Noel Hunt Robbie Keane Stephen Hunt

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