The goal he scored at the Giants Stadium against Italy gave the nation belief, and proved that we could take on and beat the best the world had to offer. With our new self-belief, we buried the traditional stage Paddy, we opened up cafe and wine bars overnight and the rest was a dawdle.
Thirteen years and one hell of a party. The world loved us and everything we gave them. The money flowed in and we were the kings of the world. We were invincible.
So how did it end? It ended because we grew so cocky we started to take the piss. We lashed up our prices, we stopped talking to the tourists, we banned them from smoking in bars and worst of all - we sent a fucking turkey to Eurovision. We weren't so fuckin smart when we sent Dana, a subsequent presidential candidate, across in 1970 with her skirt around her arse to sing "All kinds of Everything". Bloody happy to win it back then and indeed again when Johnny Loganberry and Linda Martin and all the others romped home.
So in 2007, we're high as kites and off goes Dustin to win "null points". And with this display of breath-taking arrogance, the rest of Europe stands up and says "Who the fuck do they think they are?". And the rest my dear, as they say, is history.
Two pictures below:
Hartnett and Clancy at the start; Dustin at the end.