Sunday, 18 November 2007

THE GREATEST STRIKER IN EUROPE... FACT!



Northern Ireland striker David Healy continued to update his now legendary status in yet another special night under the floodlit Windsor Park. Having scored the winner in the giant-killers 2-1 win over 10/11 favourites Denmark, the golden boy from Killyleagh took his tally an incredible 13 goals in the 2008 European Championship qualifying campaign.

That incredible feat now see's the Fulham new-boy overtake former Croatia striker Davor Suker as the highest ALL-TIME scorer, a record that has lasted since the Euro 96 tournament.

So it's now 33 goals in 61 internationals for Healy. Not bad. Especially when you consider the size of the country he represents. Last time I checked the Northern Ireland population was 1.5 million. Heavens above, if Liverpool opened any more universities in the city it would be guaranteed to breeze past that amount!

So now that you have got the idea of the magnitude of what David has actually achieved, it might be time to arrive slowly back down to Earth. To be blunt, Northern Ireland WILL NOT qualify for Austria & Swizerland next year (you heard it here first folks). Yes, we can go off to sunny Spain with all the hope in the world, but even if we did pull off a famous victory in the Canary Islands, we still need Latvia to go to Stockholm and do a number on Sweden! Not impossible, but highly improbable nonetheless.

But with every cloud they say there's a silver lining. It appears to be the reverse with Northern Ireland. Yes, we got the win but at a cost as we'll now be without Keith Gillespie for the Spain game. He's the battler (quite litterally eh Keef) we needed in Las Palmas. And then there was Spain's 3-0 over Sweden - who were from what I saw were completely uninterested from start to finish. Oh and another thing, who the hell was the twat waving his Rangers FC scarf at the final whistle like a monkey on a '3 leet'? Get lost mate, you either go to show your support for your COUNTRY, or you don't show your face at all. And no, Peter Lovenkrands wasn't even playing either if that's what you were thinking! The logic is lost on me.)

However, back to the up-side and as it draws to a close, what a rollercoaster this campaign has given us. The fans were amazing, as per usual. Vocal. That's what was required beforehand, and that's what we continue to get time and time again at home. It's a truley unreal atmosphere, and one that which if you haven't been you MUST experience. The 16,000 home fans (wish we had room for more) cheered their team onto yet another home win at 'fortress Windsor' which was very nearly 'waterlogged Windsor' before kick-off! But hey, the swimming pool effect worked perfectly! Well done IFA... and God (not Healy, the other one).

But at the end of the day, when it's all said and done, what a truely remarkable campaign it has been from the boys in emerald green, and one man inparticular... **Salutes**... DAVID HEALY. Good times never seemed so good.

PS: Well done to a former Ashfield Boys' pupil Warren Feeney, who like myself attended the East Belfast high school. To think, he was a 5th year when I was an itsy bitsy 1st year, ah the memories! 'Feeno' you did us proud tonight.

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