Conor McMenamin to be reinstated to Northern Ireland squad

Glentoran winger withdrawn over the weekend after historic sectarian video emerged

Conor McMenamin is expected to be reinstated to the Northern Ireland squad and has travelled to Greece ahead of Tuesday’s Nations League fixture.

The 27-year-old Glentoran winger was withdrawn ahead of Saturday’s match against Kosovo after a historic video surfaced appearing to show the Glentoran winger singing an alleged pro-IRA chant.

But McMenamin joined his team-mates on Sunday’s flight to Athens after the Irish FA gathered more information regarding the video, which is understood to be almost a decade old and for which the former Cliftonville and Linfield player was punished by his club at the time.

The issue is now being looked at by an independent disciplinary committee to determine if McMenamin has broken any Irish FA rules, but that is considered unlikely due to the age of the video.

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It is for that reason that McMenamin has travelled to the Greek capital, with the expectation he will be available for Northern Ireland’s final Nations League group game as they seek to avoid the threat of a relegation play-off and the prospect of dropping into League D.

McMenamin was withdrawn a day after striker Kyle Lafferty was sent home amid an investigation by his club Kilmarnock into a video appearing to show him using alleged sectarian language, but that was understood to have been recorded only last week.

McMenamin’s reinstatement for the Greece game will given him the opportunity to add to the three caps he earned in June after an outstanding season with Glentoran last term was rewarded with his first international call-up.

Speaking after Saturday’s 2-1 win over Kosovo, Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough had said he hoped historic videos would not become a recurring problem for the team.

“It’s a distraction you’d rather not have,” Baraclough said. “To happen so close to kick-off time, I thought we did the right things in pulling Conor out of the squad. It needs to be looked at.

“Clearly it’s an historic video from social media from when he was 16 I think. I’m not sure where it’s going to go at this time.

“You just hope that it isn’t (something that continues) and things don’t get churned up. I’d rather leave it at that and not elaborate on it too much. I was trying to concentrate on a game of football and that’s what we did.

“It’s been tough for the boys because if you lose two members of the squad, you know they get close and they don’t like to see that happen to anyone. It could have played a major factor but they rallied and got a result.”