Belfast Telegraph

The United States of Northern Ireland

By Billy Weir

The state of football in Northern Ireland hasn't been this good for a generation, but there was a slightly more unusual happening during Thursday's trip to Cardiff.

Eagle-eyed viewers, or those with far too much time on their hands, won't have failed to notice new-boy Conor Washington joining Stuart Dallas in the starting XI for the clash with Wales.

Somewhere in the dark recesses of a troubled mind, there was also a brief recollection of McNair being a military base, thus, Paddy made a trio of star-spangled players.

This got me thinking and Googling, and by half-time, all 11 of the starting line-up, could be pin-pointed on a map of the United States.

There are probably more and I'm sure there were ones for the substitutes too, but we'll keep that for another boring first-half.

So, in order of how they lined up, here is the United States of Northern Ireland.

US of NI: McGovern (Pennsylvania), McLaughlin (South Dakota), Cathcart (Washington), Evans (Colorado), McAuley (Arkansas - technically McCauley, but near enough), Dallas (Texas), McNair (Mississippi), Norwood (Massachusetts), Davis (California), Washington (Washington), Lafferty (Ohio).

Belfast Telegraph