So i arrived home yesterday from Bangkok after almost 24 hours of travelling and very little rest. It's nice to be back in Waringstown, not much really changes although the Road Service has obviously been busy and the village now has parking lay-bys and boasts more islands than Greece!
A few months ago my friend and i went into the Lottery for tickets for N. Ireland's home qualifiers for Euro 2008 and were lucky enough to get 2 seats. I'd never been to a N.I. game before so last night i was looking forward to the match with Spain but given the 3-0 defeat to Iceland at the weekend i wasn't too hopeful. Oh my goodness, how wrong was i.
This was one of those defining moments in life people will talk about. 'Where were you the night N. Ireland defeated Spain 3-2?' will be the question. I can't believe that i am one of the 14,500 who can say - 'I was there!'
I have been to Old Trafford to watch United play 5 times but i can honestly say that last night was the best match i have ever been to in my life! N. Ireland came from behind twice and then with only 5 minutes to go, scored the winner. Healy with his hat-trick performance truely is a local legend on the scale of Best now.
I can hardly speak today, not because of the emotion of the experience, although it was emotive but because my throat hurts. I don't think i stopped singing all night. N. Ireland fans surely are the best in the world and the chorus's of 'We're not Brazil, we're Northern Ireland', 'We're not very good', 'Healy, Healy, Healy', 'Let's all do the bouncy' and 'Are you England in disguise?' rang out with enormous volume from start to finish. When Healy's 3rd goal went in i don't know if i have ever experienced such corporate euphoria and celebration ever in my life! I hugged and danced with grown men i have never met before but yet it was completely rational in the context! I'm sure the celebrations continued long into the night and with good reason!
What a night, what a game, what a team. Give's us all something to sing about our wee country! Now all that remains for me is to e-mail my Spanish friend Simon in Barcelona! Back to work today - ahhhh!