Belfast Telegraph

What the supporters say ahead of next big Euro match

By Chris McCullough

For the fans it was a night they will never forget. But just hours after the Windsor Park heroics some of the supporters were on their way to Helsinki in Finland for Northern Ireland's next game in the Euro qualifiers.

The Belfast Telegraph caught up with Steven Mawhinney, the chairman of 1st Dromore Northern Ireland Supporters Club, at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam as he waited for a flight to Helsinki.

Mr Mawhinney was with fellow supporters Bryan Lindsay and Campbell McCreedy, who had all watched the Greece match in the North Stand at Windsor Park.

He said: "The game was absolutely amazing. The team played so well from the back to the front.

"That was the best Michael O'Neill has had them playing. We are all well chuffed for Magennis getting his goal. Steven Davis also played fabulously."

Northern Ireland supporter David McCullough travelled to Windsor Park from Glarryford to watch his beloved team take on Greece.

He also was in a jubilant mood with the side's win.

David said: "The atmosphere at the match was amazing. It was just non-stop singing from start to end.

"We went up early on the train and the bars in and around Belfast were buzzing. It sure didn't feel like a Thursday whatsoever. I am just so glad to have got tickets and to have been part of it all."

Josh MacDonald is originally from Ballymena but is now working in Manchester. He flew into Belfast for the match on Thursday and was leaving Belfast City Airport on Friday, heading to Helsinki.

"It was a very exciting match indeed," he said. "It's good to see the boys playing well.

"Belfast really lit up during the celebrations on Thursday night.

"I get into Helsinki at 11.30pm on Friday night with plenty of time to spare to watch the match.

"All we need is a draw and it would be good enough to win the group."

Friends Chris Adams and Allan Coates from Bangor have been to all Northern Ireland's home and away matches, missing only the games in the Faroe Islands.

Both were flying out from Belfast City Airport to Manchester and then were taking a very arduous route to Finland over the next 24 hours.

"We have sat beside each other at the games for 14 years and it was great to be at the Greece game in Windsor Park.

"History was made and we were there and that is the most important part.

"Well done to Davis and Magennis for their goals.

"We fly out for a night in Manchester and then fly to Estonia on Saturday before taking a boat to Finland.

"We will play in the fans match on Sunday ahead of the big game, it would be good to see Northern Ireland top the table."

Originally from Carryduff, Julian Kelly has been living in London for the past 27 years and travels back for all the Northern Ireland home games.

He was flying back to London from Belfast on Friday and was very tempted to fly on to Helsinki.

"I'm actually very emotional right now," he said.

"The Greece match was the best one I have ever watched in over 35 years.

"It was very satisfying to see Magennis score his goal as well as Davis. The atmosphere during the match was electric, as was the atmosphere in the city centre after the game.

"Our wee country is certainly going places. I didn't think about going to Finland but you never know what could happen between now and Sunday. I live near Heathrow airport so it would be easy to nip down and jump on a flight."

Fellow Northern Ireland supporter Andy Quinn from Larne was waiting at the airport to pick up a friend.

He also had been at Windsor Park to watch Northern Ireland win. "I try to watch as many home games as possible," an elated Andy said.

"This one was right up there as probably the best performance I have seen from the team."

Belfast Telegraph


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