IT was like 2002 all over again.
Under siege, Germany, the last minute, a hopeful ball in, a deft flick, one touch, GOAL – O’Shea.
It was a beautiful blemish on an ugly game; a game no one expected to yield anything other than a good pasting for Ireland.
Sure there were positives to pull-out of the Gibraltar thrashing but really, the Georgia result when McGeady hit the late winner, that was the only form to go on. There has been lots of words of course, in between, and a book.
Many might have been tempted to pick up Roy’s second tome during the game last night. It was compelling, but it was painful - the game not the book - the type of pain that can be eased if someone administers a distraction. Then John O’Shea pops up and provides an overdose of pleasure.
It was a thing of beauty but the game was anything but. It was never going to be either. FIFA ranked No. 1 against a team 62 places below, it was like League Two side Bury going to Stamford Bridge for a result. Really! Not that you would have thought it had you been keeping an eye on the contest on Twitter.
The attacks were personal, in bad taste, lacking in perspective and carried as much sting as a Tony Kroos pile driver. Stephen Quinn in particular was much maligned. So when the goal went in I thought f**k them, the best supporters in the world, on Twitter!
Because there was much to admire in this thing of blemish, the effort, determination, the will to continue, the optimism in the face of overwhelming pessimism online.
It was like United, goaling late, playing to the whistle and beyond, in their pomp. After Georgia, it was another reminder of the qualities so oft celebrated in Irish teams and at times so obviously missing in games past.
It wasn’t missing against Germany in 2002; or in Gelsenkirchen in 2014.