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Ireland's Greatest Sporting Moments Since Italia 90!

  • 3 min read

The coverage around the Ireland rugby team's historic series win in New Zealand has certainly caused some controversy. Certain pundits hailed it the country's "greatest sporting moment", whilst others declared it the best since Italia 90 - where Toto Schillaci broke Irish hearts in the Quarter-Final.

So,we've spent some time pondering some iconic Irish sporting moments that were almost certainly better. Any more you can think of?

Get a personalised video shoutout from Toto Schillaci! 

Ken Doherty's World Snooker Championship

The Darlin' of Dublin became the first and, to this day, only snooker player from the South of Ireland to clinch a World Snooker Championship. Crafty Ken overcame all the odds too, beating Stephen Hendry - who'd won the previous five titles - to secure an 18-12 victory in the 1997 final. His triumph makes him one of only two players to have won the amateur and professional world titles. 

Get a personalised video shoutout from Ken Doherty! 

USA 94 Win versus Italy

Jack's Army may have gone deeper in the tournament at Italia 90, but Ray Houghton's audacious lob past Gianluca Pagliuca at Giants Stadium is one of Irish sport's most iconic moments.  An imperious display by Paul McGrath against the eventual beaten finalists was as good as it got at USA 94 for Jack Charlton's side. A nullifying stalemate with Norway and a defeat to Mexico, where John Aldridge famously had a furious altercation with a FIFA official, was followed up by a meek second round exit to the Netherlands. 

 
Boxing Golds & World Titles 

For a nation of its size, Ireland's Olympic medal haul since Italia 90 is pretty impressive. Michael Carruth and Wayne McCullagh led the way in the 1992 Barcelona Games with a Gold and Silver respectively. Sixteen years later Kenneth Egan took Silver, with a Bronze for Paddy Barnes and the late Darren Sutherland. In London in 2012, Katie Taylor burst onto the international scene with a Gold medal in the Women's lightweight. John Joe Nevin, Michael Conlan and Barnes also took home medals. In last year's delayed Tokyo Games, Kellie Harrington claimed Gold with Aidan Walsh taking a Bronze. 

Taylor went on to make her professional debut in 2016, winning her first world title just a year later. 

Get a personalised video message from Kenneth Egan!

Dundalk's European Exploits

We may be biased - being based in Dundalk and all - but Stephen Kenny's side's domestic success and performances on the European stage have got to be in this conversation. In 2016 The Lilywhites became the first League of Ireland side to win points in the Europa League group stages, with a win against Maccabi Tel Aviv and a famous draw with AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands.

Get a personalised video shoutout from Patrick Hoban!

Dutch Delight at Lansdowne

Jason McAteer's winner against the Netherlands at Lansdowne Road in 2001 is certainly a JFK moment in Irish sport (yours truly watched it on a big screen at U2's Slane gig). McAteer's 67th-minute goal, allied with an impressive defensive performance marshalled by Manchester City's Richard Dunne, secured a World Cup play-off against Iran. Mick McCarthy's side went on to qualify and set up a pre-tournament camp in a place called Saipan. But that's another story...