Shot stopper’s praise for team’s heroics in Lyon

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern
Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern

Goalkeeping star Michael McGovern has spoken of his pride in the Northern Ireland team and described Thursday’s Euro 2016 victory over Ukraine as the highlight of his career.

“There was a lot of proud men in that dressing room. It’s fair to say that all the boys got a bit emotional when what we’d achieved started to sink in,” he said.

“The gaffer Michael O’Neill said it was the proudest he’s ever been in football as a player or manager. For him to say that was a real compliment. I also spoke to Aaron Hughes at full-time. That was Aaron’s 101st cap and he’s had more than 400 Premier League appearances.

“But Aaron said the result on Thursday was the best moment of his career, bar none. For someone of that calibre to say that, I just thought, ‘wow, this is special’.

“Whatever happens in the tournament now, I’ll always be able to look back and say I was part of a Northern Ireland side that won a match at the European Championships,” McGovern told the Daily Record.

Also responding to the team’s memorable win in Lyon, one of Gareth McAuley’s closest friends has described him as a ‘hero’.

Larne man Gary Haveron, who played alongside McAuley at Irish League club Coleraine, took to Facebook to sing the praises of the West Brom veteran defender.

Haveron has watched his close pal rise through the ranks in football. From going out on loan to Ballyclare Comrades when on the books of Linfield, to signing for English Premier League outfit West Brom.

“The Northern Ireland players were magnificent against Ukraine, every one of them, but we needed a hero and again Big G was exactly that.

“I know his family couldn’t be more proud of him but the whole country is proud of him too,” Haveron added.