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Football: FAI: OUR TONY IS NOT A FRAUD; Cas always eligible.

Byline: ROY CURTIS Chief Sports Writer

THE Tony Cascarino Affair took a dramatic twist last night when it emerged that he WAS always eligible to play for Ireland after all.

In a startling development the 88 times capped striker was told that he was wrong to call himself a "fake Irishman."

After talks with the FAI, Cascarino realised that his earlier fears about being an illegal player were wrong.

Following four days of intense investigations, the FAI announced they were "fully satisfied that Tony Cascarino was eligible to become a citizen of the Republic of Ireland."

FAI boss Bernard O'Byrne confirmed: "We have cast iron confirmation that Tony was always eligible."

Since 1996, when he discovered his mother was adopted and his Irish grandfather Michael O'Malley was not, therefore, a blood relation, Cascarino had assumed he was, in his own words, a "fraud."

However he only went public with his embarassing revelation last weekend when an extract from his forthcoming autobiography was published in a Sunday newspaper.

Now it has emerged that, despite his mother's adoptive status and refusal to take out Irish citizenship, Cas still qualified for citizenship via his legal connections with Michael O'Malley.

That is because, since 1991, any child of a person adopted by an Irish citizen also qualifies for Irish citizenship.

Cascarino was making no comment last night, but will meet with journalists today before appearing on the Late Late Show tonight.

CAPTION(S):

NEW TWIST: Tony Cascarino was always eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland; SATISFIED: Bernard O'Byrne
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 3, 2000
Words:256
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