I think everyone on this island woke up on Friday with a smile on their face.
The football results both North and South will long be remembered and has now become part of our shared sporting heritage.
For Northern Ireland it was a chance for them to show exactly why they belong at the top of their group with a comprehensive win over Greece despite the absence of Kyle Lafferty and Johnny Evans.
The Republic remained cool and consistent in the face of extraordinary pressure from the world champions and took their chance when it arose with an incredibly placed goal kick from Shane Long. The scenes on the streets of Belfast and Dublin on Thursday night were inspirational. Credit must be given to the team, the fans and to both managers. Michael and Martin O’Neill have performed wonders.
Hopefully the Republic of Ireland can also secure their place in France and along with the Irish rugby team, who face France in a crunch World Cup game, will also set up another historic day for Irish sport tomorrow.
Karen McKevitt, SDLP Culture, Arts Leisure Spokesperson