Belfast Telegraph

Goal hero Healy revisits his glory days

By Stuart McKinley

Six months after retiring from football and a year and-a-half on from his last international goal, David Healy is still enjoying standing ovations.

After scoring a record 36 goals on the big stage for Northern Ireland, the country's greatest ever striker hit the big screen at the Odyssey cinema to relieve his glory moments.

They were all there, right from his debut double in Luxembourg back in 2000 to the dramatic injury time equaliser that saved Northern Ireland from an embarrassing defeat at home to Azerbaijan in November 2012.

And although there was only an attendance of 450 people, as opposed to the 14,5000 who regularly cheered him on at Windsor Park, the roar that greeted his goals was just as loud last night.

Everyone has their own favourite David Healy goal and the best of his strikes is a point for debate, but there is no doubt in the mind of the Killyleagh man over which is his own stand-out moment.

"The England one is the one that everyone talks about," said Healy, who retired from the game at the age of 34 late last year.

"Anywhere I go in Belfast people people always say 'well what about that goal? And I know it's not one against Spain, or against Liechtenstein or Luxembourg. It's always the England one.

"To beat England at any level – I played for Northern Ireland at all levels – and to beat them at Windsor Park was extra special."

The event was held in aid of the Making a Chance charity, which was set up in memory of former Northern Ireland captain Alan McDonald, following his sudden death almost two years ago.

The charity is currently supporting the first ever Down's Syndrome Football project in Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Irish FA.

Current manager Michael O'Neill – whose own international career finished before Healy made his debut – and Jim Magilton, who is now the IFA's Elite Performance Director, were both in the audience last night and Healy will be working closely with both men in a new role within the Northern Ireland set up, alongside Stephen Robinson with the under-16 and under-17 squads.

"I spoke to Michael O'Neill and Jim Magilton and Stephen Robinson, who is a fantastic young coach, has asked me to come in to help out," said Healy.

"Hopefully in the next couple of years I'm going to be helping with the Victory Shield squad and developing young players at the younger age groups.

"Hopefully they can go on and do what I did, and represent their country."

Belfast Telegraph


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