FORMER Sports Minister Kate Hoey believes FIFA bosses will "see sense" and ditch controversial proposals which could see Northern Ireland-born players turning out for the Republic.
Speaking after Northern Ireland beat Denmark 2-1 in a Windsor Park thriller to keep hopes of qualification for the Euro 2008 championship alive, the Labour MP for Vauxhall and ardent home team supporter said she really "enjoyed the game".
"Yes, I was at the Northern Ireland match. I follow the team both away and at home," she said.
"You didn't even mind the rain once the game got going. It was a fantastic game and a credit to the team, the manager and all the supporters."
Ms Hoey said she supports the News Letter campaign to oppose the FIFA suggestion that players born in the Province be given the choice of playing at international level for either Northern Ireland or the Republic.
"Northern Ireland has supporters from right across the community and that is what we want to see continue," she said.
Ms Hoey last week put her name to a motion by DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson calling for a debate in the House of Commons on the FIFA move.
Among others to put their names to the motion were DUP MPs Gregory Campbell, David Simpson and William McCrea and Conservative MP Christopher Fraser.
Ulster-born Ms Hoey said: "Last night just showed the strength of support for the Northern Ireland team and I think FIFA would be opening up a whole can of worms, and I am absolutely confident that they will be able to realise that this committee report is just nonsense.
"I am sure that (FIFA president] Sepp Blatter will have more sense than to support the change. This has to go."
The controversial proposals have already been raised in the European Parliament by MEP Jim Nicholson while Ulster Unionist deputy leader Danny Kennedy has tabled a motion in the Assembly.
Sports Minister Edwin Poots has contacted FIFA to voice his concerns at the proposal which would give the Republic carte blanche to poach footballers born in the Province.