The Assembly football team’s epic victory over the English MPs last weekend has drawn praise from someone who knows only too well what it feels like to triumph over the men in white.
David Healy, who struck the winning goal for Northern Ireland against David Beckham’s men in 2005, has congratulated the latest band of finely honed local athletes to vanquish the auld enemy.
But while Healy was already the fulcrum before his exploits that night at Windsor Park, the goalscorer for Stormont wasn’t even a member of the Assembly.
Garvagh High School PE teacher Colin McClarty (29), son of the North Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA David McClarty, was parachuted in at the last minute after his father had to pull out.
For Healy the patched-up side made it all the sweeter: “I’d like to congratulate Colin on his goal and the other members of the Assembly team for their super victory,” said the Fulham striker.
“We didn’t have to wait as long as the last time to beat England.”
Proud dad McClarty senior, a Coleraine FC and Man Utd fan since 1963, was very happy being compared with the men of 2005.
“Colin’s goal reminded us all of somebody else who scored the winner against England at Windsor Park a couple of years ago. He hit the bar as well. He did well.”
Nobody in Sinn Fein was available for the team, captained by an SDLP man with a famous Celtic name, Tommy Burns.
But, despite beating England the side returned without the cup, losing to the Welsh and Scottish.