I was seated on the 30-yard line on that momentous day in June during the 1994 world cup when Ireland played Italy. It was scorching hot and my nephew Vinnie, who was with me said he wanted to be in Alaska.

Unfortunately I was seated with two Americans who hardly knew the game and were politely asking me for the idiot's guide to it.

I was half way through explaining what the offside  was when Ray Houghton , right in front of me, turned on the ball and lofted what looked like a speculative shot towards the Italian goal.

It seemed to hang in the air before dropping in behind the goalkeeper whose name I do not remember nor do I want to.

I jumped in the air, screamed and began chanting ole ole, much to the   consternation  of my American friends who had previously been dealing with a mild mannered friendly person who had suddenly turned into a nut.

The rest of the game I ignored them and chewed  my fingernails  as Ireland defended their lead. I remember the Black Pearl, Paul McGrath giving the greatest display I had ever seen by a center half back, almost single-handedly keeping the Italians at bay.

The final whistle was the sweetest music since Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."

Weeks later it would all end in tears as the Dutch spanked us in Florida and Packy  'Butterfingers' Bonner conceded a goal I could have
stopped myself.

Never mind - the glorious win over Italy would last for ever and my nephew agreed that Alaska wasn't such a good idea after all.