Irish eyes smiling on Lions - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Irish eyes smiling on Lions

By Laine Clark 22/11/2005 08:37:53 PM Comments (0)

In Ireland, he was public enemy No.1.

But for the Brisbane Lions' new Irish recruits, hardman Chris Johnson has taken on a very different role.

Irish teenagers Colm Begley and Brendan Quigley on Tuesday said new Brisbane teammate Johnson was "a really nice guy" and had gone out of his way to help them settle into the AFL club.

It was a far cry from the last time the pair saw Johnson in action.

The Australian joint-captain this month was banned for five games for striking Irish pair Philip Jordan and Mattie Forde in the second International Rules clash at Melbourne.

The incident prompted Ireland's Gaelic Athletic Association to push for legislative changes to curb violent play before agreeing to future fixtures.

While Begley admitted Johnson's actions were "pretty harsh", the 19-year-old said the Lions defender had won them over since their arrival last week.

"There's no hard feelings at all. He is a passionate guy and he apologised for it afterwards," Begley said after the Irish pair were unveiled at Lions training on Tuesday.

"He's a top bloke, a really nice guy. He's been one of the guys who has been looking after me, helping me out since I got here."

Begley said he winced when he first saw the Johnson incident on TV.

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