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A double Irish celebration

Very few observers would have believed that both of Ireland's international soccer teams were capable of making it to the finals of the European Championship, but the double achievement must go down as one of the most heartening sporting developments of recent seasons.

While the two sides may be lacking major individual stars, they have displayed huge levels of commitment, organisation and self-belief throughout their draining qualifying programmes for France 2016.

The security issues surrounding next year's tournament can be assessed at a later stage, but for now supporters of Northern Ireland and the Republic are fully entitled to celebrate their unexpected but well deserved breakthroughs.

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