Belfast Telegraph

Legendary Northern Ireland star Gerry Armstrong thrilled after Hall of Fame induction

By Graham Luney

The football family were talking about two Northern Ireland strikers at the glittering awards bash in Belfast's Ramada Hotel last night.

One can reflect on a glorious past while another hopes to fire the Green and White Army back to a major tournament for the first time since the World Cup finals in 1986.

Kyle Lafferty was named International Personality of the Year and Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill collected the award on behalf of the goal-getter from Kesh who has the country on track for the Euro 2016 finals in France.

The Norwich City frontman, currently on loan at Turkish side Caykur Rizespor, claimed the award ahead of Steven Davis and Conor McLaughlin.

And the big man only has to listen to the tales of Pat Jennings, Gerry Armstrong, Billy Hamilton and Jimmy Nicholl to understand how special a feeling it is to represent your country on the biggest stage.

Armstrong was inducted into the Dr Malcolm Brodie Hall of Fame, with his former team-mates Jennings, Nicholl and Hamilton leading the tributes.

"This is a very special honour," said Armstrong, who lives in Mallorca.

"I was lucky to play in two World Cup finals in 1982 and 1986. Hopefully, Northern Ireland can get back to a major tournament under Michael (O'Neill)."

Armstrong is a familiar face on our television screens as a commentator and analyst but he will forever be remembered as the man who scored Northern Ireland's most famous goal.

It was, of course, in Espana 1982 when Billy Bingham's boys took on hosts Spain with Armstrong firing the ball into the back of the net to give Northern Ireland a sensational 1-0 victory.

He netted two other goals in those finals and 12 in total for his country during 63 international appearances, but the strike against the Spanish has iconic status.

The 60-year-old from Fintona also acted as assistant manager for Northern Ireland on two occasions and enjoyed a fine club career.

Armstrong and former Linfield boss David Jeffrey also paid emotional tributes to Gordon Hanna, the widely respected football journalist who sadly passed away last September.

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