It is hard to believe that 27 years have come and gone since David O’Leary scored the fifth and final penalty to send the Republic of Ireland through to the quarter finals of the World Cup.
I have very clear memories of watching the game and penalty shootout with my brother in our living room. I was convinced we’d lose out on penalties, and with each Romanian kick finding the net until Timofte faced off against Packie, it seemed almost inevitable that one of the Irish lads would miss and we’d be sent home packing.
Alas, ’twas not to be, and instead Jackie’s Army would gloriously emerge triumphant on the back of David O’Leary’s decisive penalty following that save from Bonner.
Ireland, north and south, has changed in so many ways since then.
Earlier today, I caught this superb short film that was released last year. It’s only twenty minutes in duration and was produced as part of the Lexus Short Films series. The plot has been summarised on the official website of the film:
On the day of the most important football match in Irish history, a young father-to-be is torn between a) standing at his wife’s side to hold her hand and witness the miracle of childbirth, or b) witnessing the miracle of the national team reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
Both Irish international sides are in World Cup qualification action next weekend. Perhaps a similar production in 25 years time will recall happy memories for our football fans from France ’16 or, better still, Russia ’18!