Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Northern Ireland v Faroe Islands: Fans salute ‘genuinely special’ Paddy McCourt

Northern Ireland 4 Faroe Islands 0
Northern Ireland 4 Faroe Islands 0
Northern Ireland 4 Faroe Islands 0

The Green and White Army have a new hero in their ranks.



Pat McCourt was the name on everyone’s lips as they left Windsor Park, stunned by a fine individual performance, capped with two outstanding goals.

The fans chanted his name for much of the game and the Celtic midfielder got a rapturous reception from all four corners of the ground as he left the pitch named as the sponsor’s man of the match.

In the aftermath of another defection to the Republic of Ireland, this time from James McClean, it was the tale of two former Derry wingers on the night.

Darren Tully said: “David Healy has scored some outstanding goals, but as an overall performance that was as good as I’ve seen from a Northern Ireland player.

“I know some will say it was only against the Faroes, but to attempt that fourth goal in any international football match was outstanding.

“The fans chanted ‘Are you watching James McClean’ and I hope he was, that’s the sort of spirit we have in the camp.

“We have a genuinely special player on our hands and I just hope that Nigel Worthington puts his confidence in him for the last few qualifiers; he can unlock any defence on that form.”

Andy Gillan, from Castlerock, believes the flair of McCourt was the difference between a workmanlike win and the four-goal victory we eventually secured.

“Job done really. The first half was pretty uninspiring stuff and it looked like being the same way until an excellent strike from Steve Davis.

“It was a virtuoso performance from Pat McCourt, who was easily our best player on the night and two goals of the highest quality sealed the win.

“Hopefully that was enough to dispel any doubts Worthington had about him and will earn him a start against Serbia.”

Andy Scullion, from Larne, added: “Pat McCourt has stated his case for a regular place in the team after going some way to sparking a good recovery against the Faroes.

“Northern Ireland made a great start, but should have done more to keep the pressure up.

“It was only after Faroe Islands had two good chances either side of half time and Niall McGinn

came on that Northern Ireland really turned it on again.

“Against teams like the Faroe Islands, who defend in numbers, you need a player who can take on defenders. Pat McCourt is the one man in the squad who can do that. He made the difference.”

Stuart Jackson from Belfast spared a thought for Healy who came within a whisker of ending his own goal drought.

“You have to feel for David Healy he did everything but score in that match, and put in a really good shift on his own up front,” Stuart said.

“I thought he looked really lively and you could tell he probably wasn’t going to get a goal but I would have loved him to get the 90 minutes.

“All things considered it was brilliant to score four, especially whenever none of the goalscorers were strikers.

“We need goals from all areas of the pitch.”

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