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Meet the magician who helped Northern Ireland get out of jail in Hungary game

By Amanda Ferguson

Published 09/09/2015

Now you see him: Magician Rodd Hogg
Now you see him: Magician Rodd Hogg
Kyle Lafferty celebrates after scoring Northern Ireland's last-gasp equaliser
Magician Rodd Hogg with Northern Ireland players Stuart Dallas, Paddy McCourt and Niall McGinn

The Northern Ireland international football team managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat with their dramatic last-gasp equaliser against Hungary.

And now the Belfast Telegraph can reveal that they received inspiration from a local magician who entertained them with his mind-blowing tricks on the evening before their crucial match. Rodd Hogg (35) says he is not taking credit for Northern Ireland's 1-1 draw against Hungary but hopes his visit with the team in some way helped them stay relaxed and on track to qualify for the European Championships next year.

"I would like to say that but certainly it gave them a bit of craic," he said.

"I was up showing them some close-up magic, showing them what I can do."

Of course it was Kyle Lafferty's stoppage-time equaliser at Windsor Park that has kept the Green and White Army's Euro 2016 dream alive but a few giggles ahead of the big game did no harm at all.

Rodd knows Aberdeen forward Niall McGinn well and popped along to the team hotel on Sunday night to show him, Stuart Dallas, Paddy McCourt and football agent Gerry Carlile some tricks for a new TV show due to air later this autumn.

"Paddy wanted me to stay longer because sitting in a hotel can be boring and magic can help relieve tension, it's good fun and can break the monotony," he added.

"We were filming for my own show which is due out later this year."

In the past, Rodd has performed for a range of clients including Liverpool's Carnlough-born boss Brendan Rodgers.

Football has been something of a theme in his career as his interest in magic was sparked nearly a decade ago by former Northern Ireland goalkeeper Maik Taylor.

"He showed me a trick nine years ago and I was blown away," Rodd explained.

"It was a hobby for years and then I was asked to do fund-raisers and then it became my full time job three years ago. I perform at weddings and corporate events and have worked all over Europe."

For more about Rodd, you can follow him on Twitter @roddhogg or visit http://www.roddhogg.net/

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