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O'Neill's Green and White Army marches closer to Euro finals

By Lesley Houston

Published 05/09/2015

Northern Ireland fans celebrate the European Championship qualifying victory over the Faroe Islands last night
Northern Ireland fans celebrate the European Championship qualifying victory over the Faroe Islands last night
SOCCER Faro_19.jpg

Northern Ireland fans were celebrating a crucial victory last night and are now within touching distance of France.

They beat the Faroe Islands 3-1 at the hosts' Torsvollur Stadium and that means that a victory over Hungary at Windsor Park on Monday night will ensure a place in the European Championship finals next year.

Two goals from Gareth McAuley and a third from Kyle Lafferty sealed victory after Faroe Island goalscorer Joan Simun Edmundsson was sent off.

The teams had headed into the second half at one goal each but the local lads' victory returns them to the top of Group F.

Now the Green and White Army are now dreaming of sipping Bordeaux and dining out on baguettes as the possibility of taking part in the finals next June and July becomes a reality.

And even if they don't manage to qualify on Monday, they still have two more games in hand to resurrect their hopes of qualifying .

Manager Michael O'Neill said the win was "long overdue".

He added: "This group of players has really developed over the past couple of years and it would be a magnificent achievement to qualify," he said.

"There are some great players who deserve to get to a finals - Aaron Hughes has 97 caps. He wasn't in the side tonight but still came from Australia to be part of this squad and he wasn't going to miss out.

"That too typifies the spirit that we have."

Supporters were quick to celebrate on social media.

Gary Lightbody of supergroup Snow Patrol tweeted: "Great win today for Northern Ireland. Well done to the whole team. Great performance. Roll on Monday! #GAWA

Fan @chrisvertigan said: "Just shows how far you can go with team spirit".

TUV leader Jim Allister also congratulated the team tweeting: "Well done Northern Ireland! Superb result and top of the group!"

Health Minister Simon Hamilton and DUP Strangford MLA Michelle McIlveen both retweeted, "DareToDream!"

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