Sport

Sunday 19 November 2017

Footballing memories: 5 great moments in our history

Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry
Roy Keane in Saipan

As Stephanie Roche talks to Barry Egan about that incredible goal, Pat Fitzpatrick examines five other great moments in our soccer history

1 Thierry Henry

Ref! Handball! Twice, ya feckin eejit! It's odd that the most memorable moment in our soccer history is a negative one. But that's the Irish for you. Apparently, the most significant moment in all of Irish history was the Famine. You never hear anyone going on about all the other years, when we had loads of food. The worst thing about the Henry incident? Damien Duff admitting he would have done the same. What a way to take all the fun out of our completely over-egged outrage, Duffer.

2 Ray Houghton

The most memorable thing about Ray Houghton's goal against Italy in 1994 wasn't the ball hitting the back of the net. That could never compete with Ray's celebratory head-over-heels. It made a number of things clear. Not least why we never do well in gymnastics. We're just not that into the acrobatics, really. A recent survey showed that 92pc of Irish people think the parallel bars are two pubs facing each other across a narrow lane. Really? No.

3 Robbie Keane

Robbie has more of a handstand celebration. We doubt he had to make a difficult choice between gymnastics and soccer at an early age. Robbie brought his celebration to a global audience at World Cup 2002, when he scored a sensational injury-time equaliser against Germany. Luckily, the Germans are not a vindictive people and have treated us with nothing but respect and generosity ever since. Hmm. Hang on, eine minute

4 Packie Bonner

We'll never forget that penalty save against Romania. Trying to remember what happened for two days after that? Tricky. There was a fountain involved, and you have a vague recollection of a Clones woman, who kept shouting, "get up the yard, horse". The key thing with Packie was to pronounce the two Ns in his surname. Ireland was still a Catholic country then. You didn't want to be going around talking about a giant boner from Donegal. Stop giggling. This is serious.

5 Saipan.

We'll never forget Roy Keane walking out on us/making a stand for excellence in Saipan before World Cup 2002. Pity that he has completely shunned the limelight ever since. We'd love to see more of him. The whole nation was on edge, when our opening match of that World Cup started around 7:30am Irish time. It was impossible to know what was going to happen. We'd never had three cans with our breakfast before. Never again.

Sunday Independent

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