Thursday 17 August 2017

David O'Leary: A man bought me a pint recently for 'bringing him into the world'

Dave O'Leary buries the ball ... and Romania ... in that famous shoot-out in Genoa.
Dave O'Leary buries the ball ... and Romania ... in that famous shoot-out in Genoa.

James Donoghue

A young man conceived after David O’Leary’s famous penalty in Italia 90 offered to buy the Irish soccer hero a drink recently.

Twenty-five years on from the win against Romania, O’Leary told the Nicky Byrne show on 2fm how he bumped into the young man in a pub in Malahide a few weeks back.

"A young lad nearly jumped on me at Gibney’s Pub in Malahide a while back and he said ‘David, I’d like to thank you and buy you a drink because I was conceived after that penalty’,” said O'Leary.

The former Arsenal man admitted he seldom has to buy his own drink in Ireland following the famous kick which sent Ireland to a World Cup Quarter final.

According to O’Leary, the Irish team had heard about the buzz surrounding their world Cup run but nothing prepared them for the euphoria which greeted them when they arrived on home soil.

“We’d heard about the country coming to a standstill and all that but the reception they gave us," added O'Leary.

Bonner dives and saves in the penalty shoot-out against Romania at Italia 90. Dave O'Leary went on to net the winner.
Bonner dives and saves in the penalty shoot-out against Romania at Italia 90. Dave O'Leary went on to net the winner.

"The city centre was just amazing and I’ll always treasure it, remember it, and I think I won’t ever top that."

O’Leary had come on as a substitute in the game for Steve Staunton who was withdrawn due to injury.

“Thank God I scored,” added O’Leary, who still meets Irish fans who remind him of their whereabouts at the time of that goal.

Amazingly, the most important kick in the history of Irish soccer rested at the feet of O’Leary - a man who had never taken a penalty before.

During his time at Arsenal they were involved in a penalty shoot out in Brussels and the Dubliner didn’t get to walk to the spot.

“I wanted to take one but there were so many great players on that team, on this occasion I was one of the five.

“As I was looking up walking down and seeing all this green behind the goal so still for the first time that day, I said I’m going to hit it to the goalkeepers left,” added O’Leary, who had the hopes of a nation resting on his shoulders.

Romania goalkeeper Silviu Lung guessed the wrong side and the rest is history.

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