Thursday, September 08, 2005
I don't believe it...
I’m not one to write about football. I don’t know very much about it, certainly not enough to speak with any authority. But I do know a miracle when I see one. And last night the powers that be were playing for Northern Ireland.
Walking home through Belfast I had to avoid scores of intoxicated green-faced supporters, dodge cars draped with Northern flags and listen to seemingly ridiculous chants of ‘we’re going to win the world cup’.
Earlier on in the day my driver said a draw would be a historic result.
After debating whether or not to go out and watch the match on a big screen surrounded by drunks, I put the television on, pressed the mute button and opened the window. The noise from nearby Windsor Park flooded in providing real surround sound.
As the match kicked off optimism was high, we cheered each crunching northern irish tackle and boo-ed every English touch of the ball. Half time came and we hadn’t conceded. It seemed a bit too good to be true, an England goal had to arrive some time. But it didn’t, and on the 73rd minute, David Healy, now a local legend, slotted home what will be one of the most talked about goals in North Irish history.
We whooped and cheered. Then it almost happened again. It was a bit much. The underdogs triumph, almost a Hollywood ending. Our boys aren’t meant to perform like this.
It would have been a perfect night but for the Republic's defeat by France. That dastardly Henry.