NI squad: World sits up and takes notice of ‘our wee country’

Northern Ireland Vs Greece at Windsor Park
Northern Ireland Vs Greece at Windsor Park

After three decades in the football wilderness, Northern Ireland are finally turning on the style – and the world is taking notice.

Social media was buzzing into the early hours of Friday morning with ex-pats reacting to the euphoria at Windsor Park.

Northern Ireland's players and fans celebrate after the Greece game

Northern Ireland's players and fans celebrate after the Greece game

Across the United Kingdom, even Prime Minister David Cameron was getting excited about the exploits of the Green and White Army.

Among the football experts feeling the ‘hand of history’ on their shoulder was Alan Shearer and Robbie Savage.

Shearer tweeted: “Congrats to Northern Ireland & ROI. Great results. #euro2016,” while Savage said: “Well done Northern Ireland, amazing”.

Current IBF super bantamweight boxing champion Carl Frampton was at Windsor to cheer on the team. He posted a selfie on Twitter with former Crusaders player Stuart Dallas: “Not long ago this legend @dallas_stuart was playing against Dungannon Swifts and Warrenpoint. Now he’s going to France”.

Rory McIlroy sat next to Frampton in the North Stand and at one point was on his feet leading the singing. He later tweeted: “Unbelievable result for the republic too! Great night for the island of Ireland, north and south. Hopefully see both teams in France next year”.

Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody posted the message: “Great day to be Irish! Northern Ireland beating Greece and ROI beating Germany! What a day to be from the island of Ireland!”

Snooker pro Mark Allen is also a massive Northern Ireland fan. He was busy on Thursday night circulating video footage of the wild celebrations that followed the victory.

Along with a clip from Belfast city centre, he posted the message: “Just one of the videos from a history making night!! #GAWA”

BBC TalkSport host Colin Murray went back in time for some nostaligic inspiration having watched the latest batch of footballers to make history.

He said: “Re-watching best post-match interview ever. Alan McDonald. Sadly missed but still inspirational!”

Among the current crop of internationals, France-bound goal scoring hero Josh Magennis said: “To be able to say your dreams are now reality is a feeling that can’t be compared to anything! #completesatisfaction,” while Gareth McAuley tweeted: “Yeeoooooooo!!!! France baby!!! Get her booked”.

Goalkeeping coach and former international goalkeeper Maik Taylor tweeted: “Daretodream??? Not any more!!! Come time!! #GAWA”

Grant McCann, who played 39 times for Northern Ireland, said: “Who would believe it the #gawa are going to France unbelievable scenes”.

He later added: “God help France that’s all I would say. Gone to bed a very happy man.”