Belfast Telegraph

David Healy mural subsituted by tribute to new generation of football heroes

By Cate McCurry

To replace a representation of one of the biggest moments in the recent history of Northern Ireland football would take some beating.

When David Healy scored that 2005 winning goal against England, mural artists immortalised the moment on an east Belfast wall.

However, in the 11 years since it had fallen into disrepair, with paint flaking from the bricks.

The tribute was painted out just weeks ago, and now the Belfast Telegraph can reveal its replacement - a mural of the Northern Ireland team as they embark on their Euro 2016 campaign.

The new mural includes the portrayal of 'Irlande du Nord' defender Gareth McAuley celebrating as he stands in front of a French flag and the Eiffel Tower.

The words 'Our Wee Country' and 'Pride, Passion, Belief' are also inscribed around the new painting.

Local artist John Stewart designed the image, which he began painting yesterday.

The 43-year-old, who has been painting murals for over 20 years, said it was a project he was looking forward to creating.

"When Sammy Douglas (DUP MLA) noticed the David Healy mural was in bad shape, we thought about painting a new one," he said.

"So, with the Euros coming up, he thought it would be a good idea to do something for the Northern Ireland team.

"I sketched it out on Saturday and then starting painting it on Sunday, so I imagine I will have it finished by Thursday if all goes well.

"I might add a few more faces to it at a later stage including the manager Michael O'Neill or Kyle Lafferty. It depends on how they all get on, too.

"There's quite a few people who have been asking if the David Healy mural is going back up again, but others like what they've seen so far and think it's a good way of supporting the Northern Ireland team.

"If the team do well we will add bits on.

"We don't want to ignore the David Healy mural that was previously there and I think it will be replaced somewhere else. It won't be ignored, but I understand it may go near Windsor Park."

Last October Mr Douglas said he wanted to see the mural refurbished after it had fallen into a state of disrepair over the years since it was painted.

Belfast Telegraph