— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) 23 June 2016
Robbie Brady’s late winner for Ireland was a moment of such elation that it could only be expressed through tears of joy. As grown men around the stadium were reduced to puddles of green, white and orange emotion for one man, Irish qualification held particular sentimental value.
Tonight is a historic night for the Republic of Ireland and it should be celebrated as such.
As Brady sealed a historic night for Irish football, sending his country into the knockout stages of the Euros for the first time with a stunning header, every ounce of adrenaline and passion came oozing out of his family as he went to share the moment with them.
The unparalleled scenes of Irish joy encapsulate everything we love about tournament football.
Brady’s goal will be replayed on loop for decades and deservedly so. It all started with an inch perfect delivery from zero-to-hero substitute Hoolahan, who recovered from an excruciating miss just moments before that appeared to have evaporated Ireland’s chances of qualification. As the ball swung into the box, Brady rose like a champion to seal his place in Irish football history – well worth another watch:
The Irish party will go on long into the night, no doubt Brady’s family will be raising a glass or two to Ireland’s new favourite son. The 1-0 victory over Italy in the 1994 World Cup was, for many years, the pinnacle of Irish football achievements, never to be eclipsed.
Step aside Ray Houghton, after the scenes witnessed in France last night, Ireland may well have crowned it’s next football hero.