06/10/2001 Ta’Qali Malta 1-0 David Healy pen
Maik Taylor, Danny Griffin, Peter Kennedy, George McCartney, Colin Murdock, Jim Magilton, Damien Johnson, Kevin Horlock, David Healy (James Quinn), Michael Hughes, Stuart Elliott (Grant McCann)
Northern Ireland won their first competitive away game for six years by beating Malta, while coaches Sammy McIlroy and Jimmy Harvey were both sent off.
McIlroy was banished to the stands for throwing the ball at Malta striker Michael Mifsud and then Harvey followed for apparently remonstrating too strongly with the officials. IFA official David Currie took charge of the remaining minutes using a mobile phone to communicate with McIlroy. Alan McDonald meanwhile took charge of Northern Ireland’s next competitive match against Spain as both men served a one game touchline and dressing room ban.
Sammy McIlroy –
“It was a bit of a misunderstanding really. I reacted because I thought the little Maltese player had actually dived with the tackle, and as the ball came to me I went to throw it back and it happened to hit the boy. I am not that type of person to get involved in something like that. It was a total accident, and I do apologise to the Maltese player. The referee just told me to go. I tried to say sorry, but he would not listen to me.”
“I had just got to the stand when I saw Healy go down. The goalkeeper came out; the ball was slid through, and the next thing I saw was Healy go down. That is all I can tell you. If it was harsh well maybe we have had a bit of luck in the last game of our campaign.”
“Our general secretary David Bowen thinks that might happen, but hopefully it won’t. It was a misunderstanding. I reacted because I thought the little Maltese player had dived and as the ball came to me I went to throw it back and it happened to hit the boy. It was a total accident. I mean, to get banned for something like that would not be right.”