Northern Ireland football team to be honoured at homecoming reception
THE Northern Ireland football team will be hailed at a homecoming reception in Belfast on Monday night.
The event will be held at 5.30pm at the Belsonic Fanzone site at Titanic Quarter, with doors opening at 5pm.
The venue drew large crowds for Northern Ireland's first three games of the tournament, when the side defied most expectations by qualifying for the knock-out stages.
The team bowed out of Euro 2016 on Saturday, after a Gareth McAuley own goal gave Wales victory and a place in the quarter-finals.
Tickets for the reception cost £2, and went on sale on the Ticketmaster website last night, with half of the amount raised to go to the NI Cancer Fund for Children.
Fans wishing to attend are encouraged to use public transport as parking is not available at the venue.
The event is being hosted by the Department for Communities, along with the Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council.
Sports Minister Paul Givan said: "Michael O’Neill and the team have made the whole country proud and it has been fantastic to see the green and white army getting behind their team, both in France and back home."
The Republic's Foreign Minister, Charlie Flanagan TD, also praised the Northern Ireland team and its supporters.
He said: "I know all the people of this island have taken a great interest in the heroic feats of Michael O’Neill and his Northern Ireland squad. Their courage, skill and resilience, against some of the best footballers on the planet, have brought them great credit.
"The Northern Ireland fans, too, have been a welcome addition to the European championship scene, and it is a particular source of satisfaction for me to have seen both teams from the island of Ireland competing together on the international stage."
Mr Flanagan added: "All the peoples of Ireland, North and South, can be justifiably proud of the way their teams, management and supporters have carried themselves in this tournament, and there is hopefully more of that to come in the immediate future."