Davis leads Northern Ireland to France and I saw it happen

I was there, thirty years of hurt has finally come to an end and it was a Ballymena man leading from the front.

Two goals from Northern Ireland Captain Steven Davis sent the Green and White army wild with excitement and it capped off a quite simply stunning performance from the former Ballymena Academy pupil.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill celebrates with two-goal hero Steven Davis. Picture: Press Eye.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill celebrates with two-goal hero Steven Davis. Picture: Press Eye.

Standing in the recently built Railway Stand, it was the Captain’s performance that was the buzz amongst my fellow fans.

Going into the game there was a hope that Davis could build on an excellent performance at Stamford Bridge where he scored a fantastic goal.

On the way into the work in the progress National Stadium there was one man’s name being sung louder than others.

It was almost as if the fans knew this was going to be Davis’ night, the queues snaked into the new stand and “you are my Davis” was sung and sung.

Everybody will be talking about his two goals but watching him for the whole game his performance was much more than that.

He seemed to be everywhere, he was winning the ball in midfield, gliding past players, and the biggest cheer of the night was his Marseille turn in the second half.

Some Captain’s inspire by making bone crunching tackles but on Thursday night, Davis did so with the ball at his feet, with skill, grace and genuine class.

You could see other players being lifted by the midfielder, realising this was their moment and it spread to the stands.

The popular Davis song that was practically on repeat last night mentions Lampard and Steven Gerrard, two greats but it’s fair to say that neither performed for their country to the level the Cullybackey man did last night.

People will be gushing about this Davis performance for years to come, I know I will.

Standing at full time it was hard to believe what had actually happened, having sat through some very dark days- the goal drought, losing to Canada (still hurts) and many other sucker punch results to even smaller nations.

Last night felt liked redemption, like a reward. I didn’t know what to do, this was something I genuinely never thought I would witness. In the end I hugged my friends and raised my arms in the air and I’ll always be glad to say I was there.

Now does anyone know the French for “two sausage rolls sham”?

Read more on Northern Ireland’s famous night.

EURO 2016: Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill hails his Euro heroes

Davis helps fire Northern Ireland to European Championship finals