Davis helps fire Northern Ireland to European Championship finals

Steven Davis celebrates with fellow goalscorer Josh Magennis .''Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Steven Davis celebrates with fellow goalscorer Josh Magennis .''Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

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Steven Davis led by example to fire Northern Ireland to their first major championship for 30 years.

The Cullybackey man was a toddler when the men in green reached the World Cup finals in Mexico in 1986.

Fast forward three decades and Davis will lead Northern Ireland in their first European Championships final appearance next summer.

Michael O’Neill’s side clinched their place in France with a 3-1 win over Greece at Windsor Park tonight.

And they were helped by a double strike from man-of-the-match Davis, who weighed in with two goals on the biggest of occasions for his country.

The 30-year-old set Northern Ireland on their way as he slid home to convert Stuart Dallas’ cross in the first half.

And after Josh Magennis doubled the home side’s advantage early in the second half, Davis sent Windsor Park into delirium with a header from near the edge of the penalty box which arrowed into the corner.

It completed a marvellous week for Davis, who also scored for his club side in their Barclays Premier League win at Chelsea last weekend.

“It was an unbelievable night - a dream come true,” said the former Ballymena Academy pupil.

“We were aware it could have gone down to Sunday and we were prepared for that but we really wanted to get it done tonight.

“There was no better place to do it than in front of your own fans who have pushed us on through the campaign.

“All the lads were despearate to get there - it’s a huge achievement for the squad and the country,” added Davis.