Only the best will do for Healy


Any other striker would still have been drooling over his goal, but not David Healy. Sure Healy was thrilled to score one of the best goals seen at Windsor Park in many a year to earn Northern Ireland a valuable point against Denmark.

He had just beaten Peter Schmeichel from nearly 30 yards out with a swerving shot which would have made Luis Figo proud.

But as he sat in the dressing room there was a nagging thought in the back of his head that he could have done better from another chance in the second half.

Healy's drive for perfection surprised boss Sammy McIlroy when he congratulated him on scoring what he described as one of the best goals he had seen.

"I said `what a strike son', but he just shrugged his shoulders and said he wished his touch had been better because he could have had a second when the ball was knocked over the top," said McIlroy.

"That's the type of boy he is."

Healy explained he just wants to do his best all the time.

"I'm not saying I should have scored, but I felt I should have made Schmeichel work," he said.

"But I'll settle for scoring one past him for now."

Healy's wonder-strike after 38 minutes of the World Cup qualifier took his tally for Northern Ireland to five in his first six games.

The 21-year-old was thrilled to beat Schmeichel for real after scoring past him in training at Manchester United.

However, the Reds' reserve is not about to get carried away and he claims he needs to keep scoring if he is going to make a lasting impact on the international stage.

"Any goal against Schmeichel at any level is good and I'm absolutely delighted," he said.

"Without a doubt it's the best goal of my career.

"But I've got to keep my head. I can't let myself get big-headed.

"My record at the minute means nothing if in years to come it stays on five or six.

"People will look back and say fair enough he scored a couple of goals, but he wasn't capable of continuing to score at the highest level."

Healy's goal masked what was a laboured performance from the Irish and they could easily have lost but for some sloppy finishing by the Danes and great goalkeeping by Roy Carroll.

Denmark deservedly equalised on the hour when Dennis Rommedahl rounded Carroll to score from an acute angle, although McIlroy was adamant he was "at least three yards offside".

That said, McIlroy was delighted with the draw and the Irish have chalked up four points from their first two games, which is just one short of what they achieved during their entire Euro 2000 qualifying campaign.

They are third in Group Three, behind Denmark on goal difference, going into Wednesday's match against Iceland in Reykjavik.

McIlroy knows it will be a tough assignment and he does not need reminding that he was a member of the Irish team which lost 1-0 on their last visit in 1977 in a World Cup qualifier.

But with Healy in such potent form anything is possible.

Northern Ireland: Carroll, A. Hughes, Taggart, Murdock, Lomas, Elliott (Gray 84), Magilton, Lennon, J. Whitley (Mulryne 72), Horlock, Healy. Subs Not Used: Wright, McKnight, J. Quinn, M. Williams, McGibbon. Booked: Taggart. Goals: Healy 38.

Denmark: Schmeichel, Heintze, Gravesen, Henriksen, Helveg, B. Nielsen, Tofting, Tomasson, Gronkjaer (Bisgaard 64), Rommedahl, Sand (Jensen 82). Subs Not Used: Lustu, A. Nielsen, Michaelsen, Sorensen, Pedersen. Booked: Helveg. Goals: Rommedahl 60. Att: 11,823.

Referee: Vitor Pereira (Portugal).