05 March, 2011

Six Nations Mid-Term Report: Earls not happy with fans' excessive cyber criticism:

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NOT HAPPY: 2009 British & Irish Lion Keith Earls
I personally look on Keith Earls as a rare "working class hero" in a sport (rugby) which is usually dominated by the middle-classes who have never worried how the next bill will be paid. Earls even has the name of his hometown estate (Moyross) sewn onto his rugby boots. Moyross is one of the poorest estates in Ireland. An area infected with unemployment, violence and drugs; Earls has worked the oracle to come out of there in one piece - let alone to become an international rugby star. Earls doesn't speak often, but when he does, he's worth listening to. This is not a man who does social net - working sites like Facebook or Twitter; a happy hobby for the modern professional athlete with too much spare time on their hands.
Earls' Adidas rugby boot with the "Moyross" insignia
Earls has in his (ample and hard - earned) wisdom slammed fans who have been using social net - working sites to abuse Irish players in the wake of Sunday's nervy 21-18 victory over Scotland. Declan Kidney's side scored three tries to none in Murrayfield, but their high penalty count allowed the Scottish team to fight its way back into the match and, afterwards, Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll, props Cian Healy and Tom Court received heavy criticism from their followers on Twitter.
Earls, who had one of his finest games in a green jersey on Sunday, rallied to his team-mates' defence yesterday, labelling their online abusers "ridiculous".
Earls only witnesses tweeting as he wakes in the morning
"I have no interest in Facebook or Twitter  or anything like that," said the 23-year-old. "I heard what happened because we were in the team room after the game and Cian Healy and 'Drico' were getting comments.
"A fellah was telling Drico to 'pack it in'. Absolutely ridiculous, they shouldn't be following them if they are going to be abusing them. The lads are good enough to let them know what's going on in their lives and they just come back talking bulls**t."
Earls was the subject of heavy internet criticism himself in 2009 after a difficult start to the Lions tour and says that experience taught him not to read internet opinions after matches.
Keith Earls has become a world-class wing
The Limerick man overcame his difficult start in South Africa to perform extremely well for the Lions and now only seeks out the opinions and advice of trusted colleagues and friends as well as his father, former Munster and Young Munster flanker Ger.
"I learnt from the Lions tour that when I do read chat-rooms or whatever on the internet and you read the negative stuff, it can have an effect on you," he said.
"It can drive you mad; you end up trying to prove people wrong when you should only really go by what your team-mates think, that's the only thing that matters. I would talk to my dad a lot and Keith Wood  He knows the game and the media stuff inside out."
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