Belfast Telegraph

Watch: One year ago today Northern Ireland became the Kings of Lyon

Where were you when Gareth McAuley and Niall McGinn delivered the crowning moment?

Gareth McAuley heads home against Ukraine
Gareth McAuley heads home against Ukraine
Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley and Kyle Lafferty celebrate at the final whistle after defeating Ukraine during Euro 2016 at the Stade de Lyon, France.
Football fans out at the Titanic Fanzone to watch Northern Ireland beat Ukraine during the 2016 Euro Championship. Thursday 16th June 2016. Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

This day last year, Northern Ireland sealed the country's first ever victory at a European Championships, a 2-0 success over Ukraine.

The stadium was packed with the Green and White Army, as was the fanzone at Titanic Quarter as Northern Ireland supporters joined in delirious celebrations.

The victory, thanks to McAuley's header and McGinn's injury-time clincher, put Michael O'Neill's men well on the road to the last 16 and provided the whole country with a 'where were you when' moment.


Veteran West Brom defender McAuley nodded home four minutes after the restart from a brilliant Oliver Norwood free-kick before McGinn swept home in stoppage time as Michael O'Neill's tactical roll of the dice paid off.

It was an evening when they could have been the first nation eliminated from the competition with a defeat, and a win or a draw for Germany later, but the players responded by producing a much-improved offering from their defeat to Poland in Nice, either side of a short in-play delay caused by a hailstorm.

McAuley, 36, had peeled off Yevhen Khacheridi at Norwood's free-kick and this time the quality of the deep set-piece was perfect, the defender able to reach the delivery and nod it back into the far corner for his eighth goal in green and white. Substitute McGinn finished off in stoppage time after Dallas' shot had been parried out to him, prompting back-room staff and substitutes alike to celebrate in unison on the pitch, as Northern Ireland secured a memorable triumph.


Well, they enjoyed themselves.

Inside the stadium:

And back at the Titanic Quarter:


Of course, the day was also shrouded in tragedy as a fan collapsed and died during the game.

Robert ‘Archie’ Rainey.

Medics among the Northern Ireland fans raced to help Robert 'Archie' Rainey, 64, during the European Championship fixture in Lyon, but it was too late and he died shortly afterwards. His family said he died "whilst in France supporting Northern Ireland at the Euros surrounded by all his friends and family, doing what he loved best." Fans left shirts, scarves and flags in the stand in tribute.


Already today the GAWA are looking back and also dreaming ahead to what could be, celebrating the two year anniversary at the World Cup in Russia in 2018.

Send us your memories of that day in Lyon.

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