Football

The Best Of Your Memories From Ireland's Famous Win Over The Netherlands In 2001

The Best Of Your Memories From Ireland's Famous Win Over The Netherlands In 2001

20 years ago today, Ireland took one of their most famous scalps at international level, conquering the might of the Netherlands on their way to qualifying for the 2002 World Cup.

It was a famous day with so many iconic images. Jason McAteer's goal. Roy Keane's crunching tackle. The infamous handshake. It was a special day in Lansdowne Road, and we set out today to get the best stories from fans who were there on the day - and those watching from afar.

Ireland v Netherlands 2002: how the country experienced it

We put out the call this morning, asking for your best stories from the day Ireland took down the Netherlands in 2001, and the responses didn't disappoint.

The Dutch team that arrived in Dublin 4 on the 1st of September 2001 made for daunting reading. Just six years previous, Patrick Kluivert had scored the winning goal in a Champions League final, and he started against Ireland alongside Premier League stars Jaap Stam, Marc Overmars, Ruud van Nistelrooy, and Bolo Zenden. Two of the Dutch platers that day (Marc van Bommel and Giovanni van Bronckhorst) would go on to start the 2010 World Cup final.

It was a daunting task for Mick McCarthy's Irish team, with World Cup qualification on the line, and the enduring memory for many was just how much they snuffed out the threat of the Dutch team.

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Some weren't present in Lansdowne Road that afternoon, but experienced the euphoria nearby later that evening. It's a sign of how elated the country was that we could even afford a cheer for the English.

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Meanwhile, some of those who were lucky enough to be among the 49,000 inside Lansdowne Road remembered getting perhaps a touch carried away with the celebrations when Jason McAteer gave Ireland a 1-0 lead. In all fairness, we would have done the same.

For some, that day in 2001 was a formative experience.

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But the most enduring memory of the day was the fact that the biggest Irish football game in six years clashed with U2's headline gig at Slane Castle.

Another iconic Irish cultural moment of the early 2000s, the gig in the Meath countryside drew over 80,000 people, with the big match from Dublin broadcast live on the venue's big screens before Bono and co. took to the stage.

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The memories from Slane were incredible to read, with rumours flying through the crowd that the Irish team would appear at some stage during the gig to kick off their celebrations, and bedlam both when Ireland took the lead and when the final whistle went.

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Anyone who watched Ireland beat the Netherlands in 2001 will struggle to forget the day, but for the younger generation, those heights have rarely been scaled since. Here's hoping it's not too long before the newest generation of Irish fans are given memories to match those from Lansdowne Road that September day.

SEE ALSO: Michael Obafemi's Swansea Move Is The Lifeline His Ireland Career Needs

Eoin Harrington

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