Rep of Ireland’s Most Memorable Goals!
John O’Shea provided one of those “where were you?” moments last night with his last-gasp equaliser for Rep of Ireland against the world champions Germany in Gelsenkirchen. We have a look at other historic Irish goals….
Robbie Keane v Germany, World Cup 2002
Epic. A last-minute equaliser with Germany, against possibly the world’s best keeper? Been there, done that. Robbie Keane’s celebration and Mick McCarthy’s open-mouthed reaction are as memorable as the goal – possibly the most important of the striker’s 65 for Ireland. It was the only goal the Germans conceded on the way to the Final, and ensured a two-goal victory over Saudi Arabia in the next match guaranteed progression to the second round.
Ray Houghton v Italy, World Cup 1994
“Parking the bus” might be a relatively new term associated with Jose Mourinho but Jack Charlton’s Ireland were at it long before the Portuguese went into management. Houghton’s 12th-minute audacious lob/speculative punt set up a world-class rearguard action from the likes of Paul McGrath, keeping the likes of Roberto Baggio scoreless to record an historic win. It was as good as it was going to get for Ireland though, with a dire scoreless draw with Norway the only other positive result picked up in America.
Jason McAteer v Holland, World Cup Qualifier 2001
I, along with half the country, seemed to have witnessed McAteer’s stunning winner against Louis van Gaal’s Holland on a big screen in Slane before an historic U2 gig. There can rarely have been more noise emitted from the famous Meath venue than when McAteer’s 68th-minute strike flew past Edwin van der Saar. It virtually ensured (they had to beat a poor Iran in a play-off) Ireland would be travelling to their first World Cup in twelve years and that the likes of Edgar Davids, Marc Overmars and Ruud van Nistelrooy would not.
Ray Houghton v England, European Championships 1988
“Who put the ball in the English net?”. “Ray Houghton. How could you forget?”. It’s hard to believe Houghton’s header took place over a quarter of a century ago, as it still seems like yesterday. Kenny Sansom’s miskick, John Aldridge’s headed pass and Houghton’s floating finish ensured a win in Ireland’s first ever game at a major tournament.
Ronnie Whelan v USSR, European Championships 1988
Maybe not as memorable as Houghton’s goal three days earlier, but Whelan’s sublime volley against a strong USSR side is definitely one of the best Irish goals ever. It put Ireland ahead and would have subsequently put Charlton’s side through to the semi-finals, where it not for Oleh (Oleh Oleh Oleh!) Protasov’s 74th-minute equaliser.
Gary Mackay (Scotland) v Bulgaria, European Championship Qualifier 1987
Ok, it’s not an Irish goal but Gary Mackay’s unexpected winner in Sofia guaranteed Ireland’s qualification for their first major tournament. Several important Irish goals were scored by Scotsman Ray Houghton but this one from his compatriot set the ball rolling for “Jack’s Army”, in Scotland’s first away win in five years.