Watch: Nine years ago, Paddy McCourt produced a moment of pure wonderment to finish off the Faroe Islands

Mon, Aug 10 2020

McCourt washed his hands of the Faroe Islands in dramatic fashion in a 2011 qualifier. Credit: John-Paul McGinley (ETPhotos)

Nine years ago today, Derry City legend Paddy McCourt produced a moment of genius with a stunning for Northern Ireland in a European Championships qualifier against the Faroe Islands.

The ‘Derry Pele’ had built himself a reputation as a scorer of outstanding goals during his time with Celtic and he lived up to it in Windsor Park as the race to reach Euro 2012 hotted up.

Northern Ireland welcomed the Scandinavian side to Belfast knowing nothing less than a win would do to keep their dreams of a first-ever European Championships finals alive.

Nigel Worthington’s side led 2-0 nil as the final quarter approached thanks to a strike in either half from captain Aaron Griffin and Steven Davis.

McCourt settled any lingering nerves three minutes from time after linking up with Jonny Evans but it was the fourth that will linger long in the memory.

The winger picked the ball up just inside the Faroes half and breezily drifted by two would-be tacklers before executed the most nonchalant chip over the despairing Jakub Mikkelsen.


Despite their best efforts, Northern Ireland finished fifth in the group with Estonia taking a play-off spot, where they would be beaten 5-1 on aggregate by Giovanni Trapattoni’s Republic of Ireland.