Tuesday 27 September 2016

'The greatest moment of my life' - Niall Quinn sends Ireland into the last 16 of the World Cup

Gerry O'Hare in Palermo

Published 21/06/2015 | 18:42

21 June 1990; Niall Quinn, Ireland, scores the equalising goal despite the attentions of Holland's goalkeeper Van Breukelen. Republic of Ireland v Holland, World Cup Finals, Group Match, Palermo, Italy. Soccer. Picture credit; Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
21 June 1990; Niall Quinn, Ireland, scores the equalising goal despite the attentions of Holland's goalkeeper Van Breukelen. Republic of Ireland v Holland, World Cup Finals, Group Match, Palermo, Italy. Soccer. Picture credit; Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
June 1990; Republic of Ireland Manager Jack Charlton has a quick word with Captain Mick McCarthy immediatley prior to the Republic of Ireland v Holland, World Cup Finals, Group Match, Palermo, Italy. Soccer. Picture credit; Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Holland V Republic of Ireland in Stadio Della Favorita, Palermo. Score: Holland 1 (goal by Gullit) - Republic of Ireland 1 (goal by Quinn) 21/06/1990. INDO PIC (Part of the NPA and Independent Newspapers)
21 June 1990; Frank Rijkard, Holland in action against Niall Quinn, Ireland, 1990 World Cup, Palermo, Italy. Soccer. Picture credit; Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
Republic of Ireland v Holland in the World Cup Italia 90 at Stadio Della Favorita, Palermo. 21/6/1990 INDO PIC
21 June 1990; Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton celebrates after his side qualified for the quarter finals. World Cup Finals 1990, Republic of Ireland v Netherlands, Stadio La Favoritam Palermo, Italy. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

The dream lives on... after a night of unforgettable drama.

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Ireland has a new World Cup hero, 23-year-old Niall Quinn, who once set scoring records with Dublin hurlers.

The golden goal that he grabbed against the Dutch masters is one that Irish fans will always treasure.

It earned us a magnificent draw, just when things were beginning to look bleak, and sent Ireland through to the last 16 of the competition.

This the night that Jack Charlton and his men answered their critics with a sparkling display.

The manner in which the qualifying point was won was as impressive as the achievement itself. Quinn may have earned the cheers but this was a night of 13 Irish heroes and a vindication of manager Jack Charlton.

If it was the year's longest day, it was also the Irish fan's longest night. Even when the draw was secured, there was a nervous wait to see if Egypt would snatch a point and force a point from England that would force a lottery to decide the qualifying places. It didn't happen.

And the man of the match said: "This was the greatest moment of my life. It's something I've always dreamed about... I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the ball pop out of Van Breukelen's hands... It was a moment I'll never forget."

Jack Charlton said it "was the best game of the three".

"We played very good football this time and showed that we can play against, and do well against, one of the best teams in the world."

And commenting on Niall Quinn's performance, he said: "I'm delighted for the lad. He's a dedicated professional. He has been patient and waited for his chance."

Ireland now go on to play Romania in Genoa next Monday following a draw in Rome shortly after last night's match.

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