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Watch: Jimmy Nesbitt parties into the night after Northern Ireland victory

James Nesbitt (centre) pictured with some of the Northern Ireland fans following the team's historic 2-0 victory over Ukraine in Lyon on Thursday evening.
Gareth McKeown

CELEBRITY sports Jimmy Nesbitt is at it again - partying long into the night after another Northern Ireland sports win.

The Secret star clearly enjoyed Thursday's shock 2-0 victory over Ukraine in Lyon and recorded a special message to Tweedies Bar and Bistro in Antrim in the wake of the landmark victory.

In the video he speaks in what would be best described as broken French and hails the win, Northern Ireland's first at a major championship in 34 years, as "spectaculaire".

 

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It is understood the 51-year-old joined the Green and White army on a pub crawl in Lyon after the game and partied long into the night according to Northern Ireland fans in France.

Posts on the Facebook group 'GAWA Caravan in France 2016 -' a page that details the journey of a number of Northern Ireland fans around France - claimed that Nesbitt later grabbed a bed for the night in the van.

The post read:"We woke up this morning and couldn't believe we all had the same dream, that we beat Ukraine 2-0!! Jimmy Nesbitt then popped his head out from under one of the duvets to say he had the same one.. It Got a bit surreal then, he started mumbling things about our wee country, and banging the badge on his jersey but he said at least this time it was worth it coz he loves the football."

But Nesbitt seemed to mingle well with everyone he met.

Mr Nesbitt was not the only well-known face amongst the fans in Lyon as Minister for Communities and Lagan Valley MLA Paul Givan, Economy Minister and Strangford MLA Simon Hamilton and UUP Newry and Armagh MLA Danny Kennedy joined the legions of fans who made the trip.

Mr Givan called it a "fantastic result" and praised the support for the team in France.

"The fans in the ground acted as a 12th man for the team and really created a great atmosphere. In particular , during the 24th minute when they marked the untimely death of Darren Rodgers with a rousing minute’s applause,” he said.

Also enjoying Northern Ireland's historic win was Coronation Street actor Charlie Lawson who literally danced with delight.

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Meanwhile Hollywood golfer Rory McIlroy took advantage of a suspension of play at the US Open major tournament at Oakmont to take in the famous victory. McIlroy was unable to finish his first round on Thursday due to a series of thunderstorms.

A peak audience of 462,000 viewers tuned into UTV on Thursday evening for the match. The peak audience counted for a 70% share of the viewing audience at that time.

On the ITV Network an average of 3.2 million viewers tuned in to catch the game.

Michael Wilson, Managing Director UTV, said:

“Averaging over a quarter of a million viewers and peaking at almost half a million is a superb result for yesterday’s game.UTV are delighted to have brought this historic victory to the home crowd who were unable to make it to France to see the team play live.”

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