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Dublin: 10°C Tuesday 27 October 2020
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The story behind that pic after John O'Shea's last-minute equaliser in Gelsenkirchen

We speak to Inpho’s photographer Donall Farmer about Ireland’s draw with Germany in October.

John Oohn O'Shea celebrates scoring the equalising goal Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

ON 14 OCTOBER, Ireland took on world champions Germany in a Euro 2016 qualifier.

After Toni Kroos had put the home side ahead in Gelsenkirchen, John O’Shea, making his 100th cap, struck injury-time to earn the Boys in Green a 1-1 draw.

Donall Farmer, an experienced sports photographer with Inpho, was working at the Veltins Arena that night. We spoke to him about the game:

“I had been in Germany for a couple of days and there was a buzz about the city. It was a Tuesday night game so we flew over on the Sunday with some fans. We were staying close to the main train station and they were all coming in via that route so we could see the atmosphere building.

“On the day of the match, I was in the ground from early (about three or four hours before kick-off) but I went out and got pics of both sets of fans mixing about two hours out.

Republic of Ireland supporters 14/10/2014 Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“In general for international games, I will be positioned facing the Ireland attack and in front of the Irish fans. For the goal itself, I was up at the Ireland attack on the 18-yard line with my back to the Irish supporters.

“How many pics I send back varies from game-to-game. If Ireland are defending for the whole 90 minutes, it may not be many but if they are playing someone like San Marino, there will be a lot more pictures.  Depending on the game, it can be between 50-70 shots from a game.

“That night, Ireland were defending a fair amount against Germany so a lot of what was happening was far away from me. In general, you can never switch off near the end of a match but there was a feeling that night that something was going to happen.

“Ireland were launching it forward for the last couple of minutes. I was sending a picture when I looked up and saw the ball coming across to Jeff Hendrick. He was directly in my eye line when he turned and volleyed the ball back in. I remember thinking it looked like he had hit it too far from where I was sitting.

“There were bodies everywhere in the box but I caught O’Shea swinging a leg at it then didn’t know what happened until the crowd reacted. It was clear that Ireland had scored as the place when nuts.

It was a roar that I hadn’t heard from an Irish support for a long, long time. I’ve been covering away games for the last seven or eight years and it compares with the best ones. I haven’t heard one like that since the play-off against France.

“I can clearly picture the expression on O’Shea’s face. He was nearly choked by Stephen Ward before the other players jump on him. He turned the wrong way then came back towards us. It only took him about 10 seconds to get to the corner, but he looked wrecked after all the pulling and dragging off him.

John O'Shea celebrates scoring Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

If I was English, it wouldn’t have meant anything to me. But the fact that it was my home country and the team I’ve been covering for so long added to it.

I met O’Shea after the game when the team were heading for the bus. They will generally give you a nod but as I walked past and said ‘well done, John’, he shook my hand and said ‘cheers mate’, which is unusual. You could see how elated he was afterwards. There was a glow off him, which you wouldn’t normally see.

The goal was just one of those great moments and you feel like you’ve done you’re just when you see your shot all over websites such as The Score and the next day’s front pages.

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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