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O’Leary had come on as a substitute in the game for Steve Staunton who was withdrawn due to injury.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