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Local heroes rally in support of the home team

Biting Back: Steven Beacom

Carl Frampton, Rory McIlroy and now Gary Lightbody. All on the Northern Ireland A list and all visitors to the Northern Ireland team hotel over the course of the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

The Snow Patrol front man even trained with the team yesterday. 'Dream come true' was the verdict.

The Northern Ireland players got as big a kick out of it as Gary. Even footballers have people they admire in sport and on stage and screen.

I hope manager Michael O'Neill keeps inviting Northern Ireland heroes from various walks of life to meet his players. Clearly it is working.

For the rest of the campaign, let's keep the superstar theme going... Michael could go for fellow Ballymena man Liam Neeson. Jamie Dornan, Kenneth Branagh and Jimmy Nesbitt too.

Once the friendlies start in the build up to the Euro 2016 finals, what about getting Van Morrison in for a sing song?

Come France, O'Neill has to go for Northern Ireland's real big hitters... Adrian Logan, Jackie Fullerton and Stephen Nolan will inspire the boys past the group stages, an audience with the Hole in the Wall Gang can take us into the quarter-finals and Hugo Duncan is the man to lift spirits to make the last four.

Then it will be time for 'Frostbit Boy' to see us into the final. Michael and the lads can take care of the decider themselves!

Belfast Telegraph


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