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That's my boy... family walking on air after keeper Michael McGovern's brilliant display

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 23/06/2016

Michael McGovern his wife Leann and son Kieran
Michael McGovern his wife Leann and son Kieran

The proud father of Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern has spoken of the family's delight at his heroic display against Germany.

McGovern produced an astonishing show of shot-stopping to restrict the world champions to a single goal.

The 31-year-old's family, including his parents Carmel and Terry, wife Leanne and son Kieran, were at the Parc des Princes in Paris for the match.

Newborn daughter Meghan, who is just six weeks old, was too young to attend the game.

McGovern's dad Terry (61) told the Belfast Telegraph that it was a nervous watch at times as his son faced shot after shot.

"It was, a bit. Every time the ball went near him I was hoping that he could handle it okay, but I'm almost getting used to it now," he said.

"He's been at it a few years and every game is important, but this was obviously up there as the most important of all. It wasn't too bad, but I was still glad to hear the final whistle."

McGovern was unable to keep out Mario Gomez's first half strike, which won the game. And while the 1-0 defeat didn't directly send Northern Ireland into the last 16, the fact that the loss wasn't a rout certainly did.

It meant Northern Ireland sneaked through three hours after the final whistle because they had a better goal difference than rivals Turkey.

Terry felt his son, and the team, did themselves proud despite the narrow loss.

"I'm very thankful and grateful that he did what he set out to achieve," he added.

"He played his part in a good team performance and that is all he wanted to do - to play his role on the pitch and get the result the team deserved.

"It was a team effort and they did the country proud as well as themselves and the manager.

"While it was great on a personal level to see Michael doing well, it was a real team effort by those lads.

"It is great to see the success that they are bringing to the team, their country and their manager.

"It's great for the fans as well. We were out talking to people and the supporters have been brilliant.

"People are talking about them as the best fans of the tournament."

McGovern started off at Celtic, and went on to play for a number of Scottish clubs, including Ross County and Falkirk.

He is currently with Hamilton Academical, but is out of contract at the end of the month.

That could change after Tuesday's heroics, with some Premier League clubs in England reportedly interested in signing him.

However, Terry does not believe the attention will distract his son.

"Michael is the type of person who will keep his feet on the ground and just move on to the next challenge," he said.

"He'll not get carried away, that's for sure.

"He knows that the next match is going to be equally as important."

The McGovern family arrived in France two days before the Poland game and plans to stay on for however long Northern Ireland are in the tournament.

"The whole family has been here from the beginning," said Terry.

"Everybody was at the game on Tuesday, apart from the baby.

"It was nice for Michael - he is a very family-orientated man and is very attached to them.

"They play a big role in his life so it was great to have them all there."

Belfast Telegraph

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