Kevin Kilbane among those to heap praise on 'legend' James McClean following Oxford Bulls game 5 years ago

Kevin Kilbane among those to heap praise on 'legend' James McClean following Oxford Bulls game

Take a bow James McClean, it's altogether deserved.

The modern footballer catches a lot of flak for being overpaid, cosseted, disconnected from fans, precious and out of touch.

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It is, of course, an unfair generalisation. Like any profession, there are the good folk and the not so good folk. The whingers, the spoiled brats, the hard workers, the honest types and every other point on the spectrum.

If anyone ever argues that all footballers are entitled and out of touch, you can retort with two words: 'James McClean'.

On the field, the Republic of Ireland midfielder is uncompromising and combative but, as he demonstrates time and time again, he is one of the most big-hearted men in the country.

On Monday our own Conan Doherty brought to light the plight of the Oxford Bulls, a Derry-based team of footballers with Down Syndrome.

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They were a team but had no opposition.

The response to the article was phenomenal, with Kevin Morrison, the father of one of the players, Adam, detailing on Facebook all the help they received.

"We've received literally hundreds of offers of matches, help with travel & accommodation, advice and assistance on a monumental scale - we've even been offered new training tops by a sportswear company down south. I've answered as many messages as I could but still have to get back to some more clubs and individuals."

Then, on Thursday, McClean turned up with a scratch team to take on the Bulls.

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The pictures and video in the piece above say it all about what the day meant for the team and, understandably, the reaction has been amazing.

McClean's predecessor on the left wing for Ireland, Kevin Kilbane - whose daughter Elsie was born with Down Syndrome - paid tribute to the West Brom winger.

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But he was far from alone, the word 'legend' was used a lot.

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Others could not get over the joy it brought to the children.

Others were asking when the public perception of McClean may change.

We think Danny sums it up best, however.