Mayor congratulates Northern Ireland team

Steve Davis and Michael O'Neill.
Steve Davis and Michael O'Neill.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim has congratulated the Northern Ireland men’s senior football team after the side secured a World Cup playoff spot.

Michael O’Neill’s men finished runners-up in their qualifying group and were yesterday confirmed as being among the sides set to battle it out for a place at the World Cup Finals in Russia next summer.

First Citizen, Cllr Paul Reid, said: “I am delighted and proud of the amazing achievements of the Northern Ireland team.

“Michael O’Neill and his players continue to make history with their incredible performances and results, while the fans have been true ambassadors off the pitch.

“Northern Ireland and the fantastic Green and White Army are firmly on the world map thanks to the team’s showing at Euro 2016.

“They have built on that success, moving Northern Ireland to 20th in the world rankings and putting the side within touching distance of Russia.”

Cllr Reid added: “Well done to all the players, and especially those with close links to our borough, including captain Steven Davis from Cullybackey, Gareth McAuley from Larne, and Craig Cathcart, Jonny and Corry Evans, who previously played for Greenisland Football Club.

“Sport is an incredible unifier and we are all right behind the team ahead of their crucial playoff matches.

“I will be cheering them on as they bid to become the first Northern Ireland side to appear at a World Cup Finals in more than three decades. I also want to extend my best wishes to Martin O’Neill, whose Republic team face Wales in a huge match on Monday night.”

Michael O’Neill was born in Portadown, before moving to Ballymena, where he attended All Saints Primary School and St Louis Grammar.