| 8.2°C Dublin

Close

Premium

The shock of Gibraltar - Inside the day that rocked Irish football to its core

A year ago this weekend, Mick McCarthy’s Ireland team travelled to Gibraltar for the start of their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign – but the game became a sideshow as the long and winding road of John Delaney’s tenure in charge of the FAI finally reached the endgame. This is a match that will always be remembered for what happened off the pitch...

Close

On target: Jeff Hendrick and Matt Doherty celebrate after Hendrick scored the only goal of the game in Ireland’s 1-0 victory over Gibraltar in their Euro 2020 Group D qualifier last year. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

On target: Jeff Hendrick and Matt Doherty celebrate after Hendrick scored the only goal of the game in Ireland’s 1-0 victory over Gibraltar in their Euro 2020 Group D qualifier last year. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

On target: Jeff Hendrick and Matt Doherty celebrate after Hendrick scored the only goal of the game in Ireland’s 1-0 victory over Gibraltar in their Euro 2020 Group D qualifier last year. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

It was a forgettable game on an unforgettable day.

History was made when Gibraltar were afforded the honour of hosting Ireland on their own patch, but the dawn of their new era was overshadowed by the beginning of the end for a flawed empire.

On a Saturday evening in March, John Delaney fought for his future in the FAI and football while Mick McCarthy's team huffed and puffed against the minnows. Few Irish eyes within the stadium were fully concentrated on the action on the park. This was a competitive international like no other.