Dream come true for Marissa Callaghan as Northern Ireland make history
Marissa Callaghan said it was “a dream come true” as she helped Northern Ireland create history by qualifying for their first major tournament.
The captain slotted home the opener against the Ukraine on 55 minutes in the second leg of the EURO 2022 play-off at Seaview before Nadene Caldwell’s late second sealed a deserved win for Kenny Shiels side, kicking off wild scenes of celebration.
“I had a feeling all day that I would score and I wrote my son’s name on my arm,” Callaghan told BBC Sport.
“I said when it happened I was going to give it a kiss and I did. It’s a dream come true, it was such an amazing moment.
“I’m a bit shell-shocked to be honest, but you know what, Ukraine didn’t stand a chance against us because we believed in ourselves and we believed we would be here.
“Kenny and his team came in 18 months ago and instilled this tremendous belief in us and made us into this amazing team, and look what we have done.
“We battled so hard and gave everything, we had to find something inside us to fight and we did it.
“Here we are going to the Euros next year.”
Shiels paid tribute to his players after the game saying it was the best ever achievement in UK sport.
“We look at what Rory McIlroy has done for Northern Ireland and Steven Davis, what he has done for the men’s team...this here is far and away the best ever sporting achievement for Northern Ireland - for the UK actually if you put it in its context,” he said.
“These are amateur players with 16 of the panel playing in the Irish League but they are playing against players from all the top teams in Europe.
“It’s incredible what they have achieved.”
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