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Steve Lomas and Sammy McIlroy
talk to Joel Taggart
 real 56k

BBC Five Live's Simon Hill
reports from Belfast
 real 14k

Saturday, 7 October, 2000, 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK
Northern Ireland denied by Danes
Sammy McIlroy
Sammy McIlroy's side claimed a 1-1 draw against Denmark
Northern Ireland 1-1 Denmark

A wonder goal from David Healy helped Northern Ireland claim a creditable 1-1 home draw with Denmark in Belfast.

Healy put Northern Ireland ahead with a glorious strike from 30 yards in the 38th minute.

PSV Eindhoven player Dennis Rommedahl hit Denmark's equaliser in the 60th minute with a goal which Northern Ireland's players insisted was yards offside.

However, Denmark controlled most of the game and Northern Ireland, on balance, should have been content with a point.

Something special

The 38th-minute strike was the 21-year-old Manchester United player's fifth in his sixth international appearance and Irish boss McIlroy said: "It was one of the best I've ever seen.

"When you play the system we play you need something special to unlock a defence, especially against a goalkeeper like Peter Schmeichel."

McIlroy's joy was tempered by Dennis Rommedahl's 60th-minute equaliser, which he felt was well offside.

"I'm probably biased but I was near the incident and it was either a hell of a run or he was three yards offside.

Yards offside

"Roy Millar, our under-21 coach, was up in the stands and he said it was at least three yards offside.

"But having said that I'm not going to try and fool you.

David Healy
David Healy hit a wonder goal for Northern Ireland

"Denmark in the second half I thought were magnificent and deserved something out of the game.

"I would have settled for a point beforehand and I thought my lads were magnificent and battled right to the end."

Reasonably content

The draw gives Northern Ireland four points from their first two matches going into Wednesday's game against Iceland in Reykjavik and left McIlroy reasonably content.

"To get four points from your home games is a start.

"It would have been hard to pick the boys up to go to Iceland if they had been beaten today."

Denmark coach Morten Olsen claimed he did not have a good view of Rommedahl's goal.

Poor finishing

But he felt his side did not deserve more than a point because of their poor finishing.

"If you can create six or seven chances that's good, but if you only make one goal it's bad," he said.

Jim Magilton
Jim Magilton required treatment afterwards

Gerry Taggart and Jim Magilton received treatment after the game but McIlroy claimed they will be fit to travel to Iceland.

The Danes looked exceptionally dangerous early on and could have been 2-0 up by the 10th minute.

Quick move

Former Newcastle striker Jon Dahl Tomasson, outwitted his former clubmate Aaron Hughes to instigate a quick move down the Northern Ireland right which should have been finished by Ebbe Sand.

However, Sand's shot was brilliantly saved by Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll although the striker's connection from close-range could have been better.

Tomasson set up Dennis Rommedahl with another glorious chance four minutes later but the PSV Eindhoven player sliced the chance wide.

Northern Ireland then missed a great chance to open the scoring in the 17th minute with Gerry Taggart missing with a bullet header from point-blank range after a superb Kevin Horlock free-kick.

Deny Tomasson

At the other end, Carroll had to move quickly off his line again in the 26th minute to deny Tomasson.

The Wigan goalkeeper was the Northern Ireland saviour again in the 28th minute with another magnificent stop to deny Thomas Helveg from close-range.

Roy Carroll
Roy Carroll made a series of magnificent saves

Despite the Danish chances, Northern Ireland were looking more confident.

Lennon and Magilton were beginning to impose themselves on the contest and Healy was looking lively.

Wonder strike

Still Healy's 38th minute wonder strike came very much out of the blue.

After a misplaced pass from Jesper Gronkjaer, Healy picked up the ball near half-way and after running 30 yards hit a glorious swerving shot past his former clubmate Schmeichel.

Steve Lomas almost extended the home advantage on 40 minutes with a shot which was just over Schmeichel's crossbar.

Denmark regained their composure after half-time with Carroll once again having to make an intervention to deny Gronkjaer with a brilliant double-save in the 54th minute.

Rounded Carroll

Gronkjaer then rounded Carroll in the 57th minute but Gerry Taggart was able to head away the pull-back to safety despite being under intense pressure from Sand.

The equaliser on the hour, while no great surprise given the Danish dominance, was controversial with the Northern Ireland players and bench appealing for offside.

Nonetheless, Rommedahl's finish from an acute angle after he had rounded Carroll was magnificent.

Denmark dominated the closing half-hour with Taggart and Horlock both making vital blocks to deny Tomasson and Helveg in the 77th and 81st minutes.

Northern Ireland: R Carroll (Wigan), Jeff Whitley (Man City), A Hughes (Newcastle), G Taggart (Leicester), C Murdock (Preston), S Lomas (West Ham), N Lennon (Leicester), J Magilton (Ispwich), K Horlock (Man City), D Healy (Man City), S Elliott (Motherwell). Sub: P Mulryne (Norwich) for Whitley 72 mins, P Gray (Burnley) for Elliott 84.

Denmark: P Schmeichel (Sporting Lisbon), D Rommedahl (PSV Eindhoven), R Henriksen (Panathanaikos), T Gravesen (Everton), J Heintze (PSV Eindhoven), T Helvey (AC Milan), B Steen Nielsen (Akademisk Boldklub), J Gronkjaer (Ajax), J Dahl Tomasson (Feyenoord), S Tofting (Hamburg), E Sand (Schalke O4). Subs: M Bisgaard (Udinese) for Gronkjaer 64, C Jensen (Charlton) for Sand 82.

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See also:

07 Oct 00 |  World Cup 2002
Clockwatch: N Ireland 1-1 Denmark
06 Oct 00 |  Northern Ireland
Taggart in but Taylor out
06 Oct 00 |  Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland U21s crash to defeat
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