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Glory Days: Recalling magic moments of Irish soccer

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Stuttgart 1988.

Stuttgart 1988.

Pope John Paul 11 with Jack Charlton and the members of the Irish soccer squad when they visited him at the Vatican prior to their  quater -final game against Italy in Rome  during  the 1990 World Cup finals held in Italy.

Pope John Paul 11 with Jack Charlton and the members of the Irish soccer squad when they visited him at the Vatican prior to their quater -final game against Italy in Rome during the 1990 World Cup finals held in Italy.

The awkward handshake between Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy after the 2001 win over the Dutch.

The awkward handshake between Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy after the 2001 win over the Dutch.

Roy Keane - Saipan affair still divides the nation.

Roy Keane - Saipan affair still divides the nation.

The typical appearance of an Irish fan in USA 94.

The typical appearance of an Irish fan in USA 94.

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Stuttgart 1988.

As Barry Egan profiles FAI chief John Delaney, Pat Fitzpatrick takes a look back at the top five magic moments in Irish soccer

1 STUTTGART 1988

It still sends a shiver down the spine when it's shown on Reeling in the Years - seriously, where were we going with all those mullets? Of course, a lot of Irish people didn't know what to say when the final whistle went in Stuttgart. That's because they had never seen a soccer match before and hadn't a clue what had gone on. Fair play to Dalymount Park. For a small ground, it somehow managed to hold the three million Irish people who didn't miss a single Irish home game in the 1980s.

2 ITALIA '90

A lot of the players said that meeting the Pope was a highlight at Italia '90. Even if he was quite old and eccentric and they didn't have a clue what he was saying. Or maybe they were talking about Jack Charlton. The penalties win against Romania was our highlight of the tournament. Everyone remembers where they were during that match. The following three days - well now, they were a bit hazy. There was definitely some time spent in a fountain.

3 USA 1994

Who can forget our 0-0 draw with Norway in Giants Stadium? Everybody. Still, it qualified us for the next round, against the Netherlands, down in the heat of Florida. That was only ever going to end one way. Dutch people are made for the sun, turning a very sexy shade of brown. Irish people attract crowds of locals saying "the lobster people are mucho loco". The result? Netherlands, 2; Ireland, 0. And we were lucky to get nil.

4 2002 QUALIFIER

September 2001, Lansdowne Road. Ireland, 1; Netherlands, 0. Take that, you gorgeous, sexy Dutch bastards. The much-vaunted visitors somehow failed to score in Dublin. But then, in fairness, no one told them about Coppers. An awkward handshake suggested some tension between manager Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane after the match. Still, nothing that can't be worked out with some time together on a small island off mainland Japan before the tournament, says you.

5 WORLD CUP 2002

A lot of Irish people are still proud of our performance during that World Cup on the other side of the world. It wasn't easy drinking four cans with breakfast, while watching the Cameroon match. The Roy Keane affair still divides the country in two. On one hand, you have people who felt he was completely in the wrong. On the other hand, you have paranoid Cork people shouldering a massive grudge. As if there is any other kind.

Sunday Independent