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02nd Jun 2018

Ireland are replacing the white numbers on their shirts with rainbows colours

The Irish FA are showing solidarity with the LGBT community

Reuben Pinder

A lovely gesture

John O’Shea will pull on the green jersey one last time for Ireland today as the legendary defender is retiring from international football. And the jersey that he pulls on will have a unique feature: rainbow print on the shirt numbers as a show of solidarity with the LGBT community from the Irish FA.

It is a bold, courageous and commendable gesture at a time when Ireland are on a progressive charge, having just repealed the 8th amendment of their constitution.

Ireland will take on the United States of America at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin in a friendly which, to all intents and purposes will be a celebration of John O’Shea’s long and illustrious career. The versatile defender enjoyed eleven successful years at Manchester United before moving on to Sunderland and captaining the Black Cats.

It’s not yet clear whether the 37-year-old will stay on at Sunderland for next season, with discussions between O’Shea and the new owner set to take place.

Sunderland suffered back to back relegations in the past two seasons, and now find themselves in the abyss of League One. O’Shea may feel obliged to stay on and help get the club back to where they belong, although his age and fitness are obviously a big factor.