Stephen Kenny has hit out at the "incomprehensible" booing of the Irish players for taking a knee ahead of tonight's scoreless draw with Hungary at the Szusza Ferenc Stadion in Budapest.
And the Ireland manager believes that the loud jeering heard throughout the stadium that accompanied the Irish anti-racism gesture will damage Hungary, who are a host nation for this month’s Euro 2020 tournament.
The return of crowds inside the stadium amidst the ongoing Covid-19 crisis is widely regarded as a positive step to the return of normality in international football, however, it left a sour taste in the Ireland manager’s mouth to witness the disrespect shown to his players ahead of the game.
"I think it's a very important message," said Kenny, when asked about the booing as his players took the knee ahead of the game.
"The fact it was booed was incomprehensible, really.
"It must be damaging for Hungary, with the Euros in Hungary. It's disappointing and it doesn't reflect well on Hungary and the Hungarian support.
"Our players wanted to do it, it's an important stance and I commend them for taking that stance."
And the Ireland manager was clearly very proud with the way that his young black players handled the situation, and said that they were a credit to Ireland and the Irish football team.
"Obviously, three of the young black players are teenagers - Adam Idah, Gavin Bazunu and Andrew Omobamidele - and also Chiedozie Ogbene came on and was excellent.
"They all performed brilliantly. Gavin was terrific in goal and Adam was outstanding in the second half, he caused havoc but unfortunately couldn’t score.
"They are well capable of speaking for themselves, they’re educated individuals, they’re very well capable of speaking for themselves but they’re a credit to Ireland, to the Irish football team, they’re going to be a big part of the Irish football team and we’re very proud they’re part of our team."
Idah led the line with pace and strength throughout the entertaining encounter and looked threatening in the final third, most notably in the second half.
And the Cork man said that the players were not expecting such a reaction from the crowd, and it was one that was ultimately disappointing.
"It’s disappointing to see the fans and the whole stadium booing us taking the knee," said Idah.
"It’s for a good cause, trying to stop racism. It’s a sign to kick racism out of society and the reaction was very disappointing to be honest. We weren’t expecting that."
And looking back at the actual game, the Ireland manager said that he still had issues with the performance, which again he felt was lacking cohesion, however, he was full of praise for the team spirit that has been omnipresent throughout the 10-day training camp and two matches against Andorra and Hungary.
"The performance wasn’t perfect," said Kenny. "In the first half we weren’t as cohesive as I would have liked us to be, but we defended really well.
"It was a tough game. We were aware they had qualified for the Euros. This was a big game for them, going to the Euros, ground packed, so it was always going to be a difficult game.
"Our players were excellent overall, their commitment and sense of team was very evident.
"Obviously, John Egan had his header off the bar, and in the second half, we were very much a threat on every counter-attack.
"Adam Idah was very, very dangerous in the second half, as were the other forwards, and we caused a lot of problems."
The Ireland team can now break for the summer, while the manager has been stressing the importance of having a strong pre-season as the next international break comes at the very start of the new club campaign.
And Kenny feels that the end-of-season double header and accompanying training camp has proved very successful, adding real experience to the squad ahead of the vital World Cup qualifiers.
"The spirit and effort of everyone over the past ten days have been nothing short of outstanding," said Kenny.
"A lot of players got a lot of good international experience tonight which will stand them well in the future.
"I think the games in September are very exciting. We have Portugal in Portugal, which is a great game, we’ve got Serbia and Azerbaijan at the Aviva with supporters, and we want the supporters to get behind this group of players and support them because they deserve it.
"Because they are committed to Ireland, they are passionate about playing for Ireland and they want to be the best they can be."