EURO 2016: Boss Michael O’Neill hails the rise of sport in Northern Ireland

Michael O'Neill pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter. Picture by Matt Mackey/Press Eye
Michael O'Neill pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter. Picture by Matt Mackey/Press Eye

Northern Ireland’s squad were welcomed back home on Monday night from Euro 2016 to a hero’s reception by 10,000 supporters at an event in Belfast.

Michael O’Neill’s team had been eliminated by Wales, but having reached their first major tournament in 30 years, they then exceeded many people’s expectations by making it through to the last 16.

The Green and White Army arrived in the Titanic Quarter to show their appreciation for the achievements of the team and O’Neill, who was given the bumps on stage by Kyle Lafferty and others as confetti came down, insisted his side had helped restore pride.

O’Neill said: “Football brings everyone together and I think it’s fantastic.

“What we’ve done hopefully is break down the barrier that we would never get to a major tournament again and we want to try and get to the World Cup in 2018.”