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Better late than never for Green and White Army

By David Young

Published 08/09/2015

Euro 2016 Qualifier - Northern Ireland Vs Hungary at Windsor Park, Belfast. Northern Ireland legend David Healy watching the match with fans.
Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Euro 2016 Qualifier - Northern Ireland Vs Hungary at Windsor Park, Belfast. Northern Ireland legend David Healy watching the match with fans. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
J McLorn with his son David at Windsor Park. Pic: J McLorn
Northern Ireland fans during this evenings game at Windsor park. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans during this evenings game at Windsor park. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's fans during the game at Windsor Park in Belfast. Photo David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's fans during today's game at Windsor Park in Belfast. Photo David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's fans before the game at Windsor Park in Belfast. Photo David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's fans before the game at Windsor Park in Belfast. Photo David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans George King with twin son's Mason and Christain before the match against Hungary during Monday night's UEFA EURO 2016 Group F Qualifier at the National Football Stadium, Windsor Park, Belfast. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Northern Ireland fans (L-R) Charlotte Cummings with her father Paul and sister Zoe from Antrim. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Mason King (12) with his father George King, twin brother Christian and Daren Leighton from Donegal Pass. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Northern Ireland fans (L-R) Ethan Gibson(14), Lewis Orr-McCauley(16), Mathew Gibson(12), Samantha Orr-McCauley(6) and Grant Orr-McCauley(11). Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Northern Ireland v Hungary at Windsor Park, Belfast. Northern Ireland fans Mark Paul with his son Rhys and Gary from Newtownabbey. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Northern Ireland fan Daniel Gracey (5) Ballymoney during Monday night's UEFA EURO 2016 Group F Qualifier at the National Football Stadium, Windsor Park, Belfast. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Buddy and Mylo watching at home. Photo: Kristine Hill
David McLorn before going to Windsor Park. Photo: J McLorn
Rory Beattie (8 months) getting ready to watch the match. Photo: Linda Taylor
Husband and wife Neil and Lorainne Fentie are looking forward to the big match against Hungary at Windsor Park. Picture Matt Bohill.
Northern Ireland fans Matthew Kernaghan, James Abraham, Ryan Blakely and Ben Speers cant wait for the big match at Windsor Park. Photo: Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press.
Little Jake Quinn who is to lead out the Hungarian national team at Windsor Park cheers on Northern Ireland on top of his dad Graham Quinn's shoulders. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill ahead of the match against Hungary during Monday night's UEFA EURO 2016 Group F Qualifier at the National Football Stadium, Windsor Park, Belfast. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Northern Ireland Niall McGinn, Stuart Dallas and Josh Magennis ahead of the match against Hungary during Monday night's UEFA EURO 2016 Group F Qualifier at the National Football Stadium, Windsor Park, Belfast. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Northern Ireland players during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Hungary.
Northern Ireland players during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Hungary.
Hungary manager Bernd Storck during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Northern Ireland.
Hungary players during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Northern Ireland.
Hungary players during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Northern Ireland.
Hungary manager Bernd Storck during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Hungary.
Hungary manager Bernd Storck during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland's Chris Baird during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Hungary.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill (right) at this morning's training session - Hungary awaits. Picture - David Hunter.
Hungary on the horizon as Northern Ireland train at Windsor Park. Picture - David Hunter.

As the 90 minutes of normal time drew close last night, some disappointed Northern Ireland fans had already started drifting away from Windsor Park, convinced that the visiting Hungarians had denied them the victory they craved.

But those supporters must have been kicking themselves when they heard a massive roar from the stands three minutes into injury time.

As nails were being bitten to the quick, Kyle Lafferty pounced to snatch the late equaliser and the mood changed utterly. Seconds later the tide of relieved, happy fans poured out into the warm south Belfast night. It felt like a victory.

Despite their smiles, they were in no doubt that it had been close-run thing.

"We snatched it from the jaws of defeat, really," said Ryan Simpson from Warrenpoint. "Thank God for Kyle Lafferty. It's a sign of how far the team's come, in a way. I challenge anyone to say we're not going to France. Never say die! Just try and stop us!"

Belfast man Robert Fenton said: "I think we were fortunate to get the point - though I was glad to see it.

"The goal was about the only thing Lafferty did do - but it was the most important thing! But at times the match was very ordinary indeed. Hungary were the better side, but we'll take the point. We need it!"

Stewart Anderson from Carrickfergus thought the Northern Ireland team were lucky to rescue a point.

"The match wasn't great at all," he said. "There was no football being played. Absolutely no football. And that ref was a wee bit dodgy. But I'm pleased that we came away with a draw. We stole it."

The referee's decision to send off Chris Baird did not endear him to the fans. Roy Francey from Rathcoole said: "See that Turkish referee? Tell him I'll never eat another Turkish Delight as long as I live!"

Bangor's Chris Hall added: "I think we need to buck up our ideas when we play Greece.

"We need to be very careful - or we could throw it away."

Lurgan fan Phil Moutray believes the team are on their way to France.

"That was nerve-racking to say the very least. But now we're four points clear I think we'll make it to France OK," said the happy fan.

First Minister Peter Robinson also enjoyed the game and remained optimistic.

"While a win tonight would have secured qualification, the dream is still alive - and within touching distance," he said.

"The entire province is behind the team and we all believe they can do it."

Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty (second right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty and Hungary's Tamas Kadar battle for the ball during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo: Niall Carsony/PA Wire
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty (right) during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo: Niall Carsony/PA Wire
Kyle Lafferty (L) of Northern Ireland and Attila Fiola (R) of Hungary in action during the Euro 2016 Group F qualifying match at Windsor Park on September 7, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Kyle Lafferty (R) of Northern Ireland just fails to score during the Euro 2016 Group F qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Hungary at Windsor Park on September 7, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty (right) and Hungary's Attila Fiola during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Northern Ireland's Chris Brunt and Hungary's Attila Fiola battle for the ball during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 7, 2015. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carsony/PA Wire
Hungary's Richard Guzmics (second left) scores his side's first goal of the game during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 7, 2015. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carsony/PA Wire
Hungary's Richard Guzmics (centre) scores his side's first goal of the game during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 7, 2015. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carsony/PA Wire
Northern Ireland's Chris Brunt battles for the ball with Hungary's Zoltan Gera (floor) and Krisztian Nemeth during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 7, 2015. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty (front) and Hungary's Tamas Kadar battle for the ball during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 7, 2015. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carsony/PA Wire
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty (right) during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 7, 2015. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carsony/PA Wire
Northern Ireland fans during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 7, 2015. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carsony/PA Wire
Hungary fans during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 7, 2015. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carsony/PA Wire
Former Northern Ireland footballer David Healy during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 7, 2015. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carsony/PA Wire
Northern Ireland's goalkeeper Michael McGovern (R) drops the ball leading to Hungary's defender Richard Guzmics (2nd L) scoring the opening goal during the Euro 2016 qualifying group F football match between Northern Ireland and Hungary at Windsor Park in Belfast on September 7, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MICHAEL COOPERMichael Cooper/AFP/Getty Images
Northern Ireland's striker Stuart Dallas (R) has his shot saved by Hungary's goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly (L) as Hungary's defender Richard Guzmics slides in to block during the Euro 2016 qualifying group F football match between Northern Ireland and Hungary at Windsor Park in Belfast on September 7, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MICHAEL COOPERMichael Cooper/AFP/Getty Images
Northern Ireland's striker Kyle Lafferty (L) vies with Hungary's midfielder Adam Nagy during the Euro 2016 qualifying group F football match between Northern Ireland and Hungary at Windsor Park in Belfast on September 7, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MICHAEL COOPERMichael Cooper/AFP/Getty Images
Northern Ireland's striker Kyle Lafferty (L) vies with Hungary's midfielder Adam Nagy during the Euro 2016 qualifying group F football match between Northern Ireland and Hungary at Windsor Park in Belfast on September 7, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MICHAEL COOPERMichael Cooper/AFP/Getty Images
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 7: Steve Davis (R) of Northern Ireland and Akos Elek (L) of Hungary during the Euro 2016 Group F qualifying match at Windsor Park on September 7, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 7: Northern Ireland footballing legend and all time record goalscorer David Healy (L) gives a thumbs up during the Euro 2016 Group F qualifying match at Windsor Park on September 7, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 7: Stuart Dallas (R) of Northern Ireland and Tamas Kadar (L) of Hungary during the Euro 2016 Group F qualifying match at Windsor Park on September 7, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland players during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Hungary.
Northern Ireland players during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Hungary.
Hungary manager Bernd Storck during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Northern Ireland.
Hungary players during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Northern Ireland.
Hungary players during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Northern Ireland.
Hungary manager Bernd Storck during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Hungary.
Hungary manager Bernd Storck during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland's Chris Baird during Sundays training session at Windsor Park ahead of Monday nights Euro 2016 Qualifier against Hungary.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill (right) at this morning's training session - Hungary awaits. Picture - David Hunter.
Hungary on the horizon as Northern Ireland train at Windsor Park. Picture - David Hunter.

Belfast Telegraph

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