Five of the best goals Ireland have scored at big tournaments

The road to France has officially begun, so it's time to relive some of Ireland's best moments in big tournaments

Ray Houghton, Ireland, Italy,

Image: Peter Robinson / EMPICS Sport

Whether you've managed to make it to a tournament as an Irish supporter, or you've simply watched at home with friends and family, there are some standout moments where the whole country stood still while the national team were in action. 

The moments where Ireland scored their biggest goals and secured their most crucial wins have kept fans coming back to the team and singing songs in the days when times have not been so good (let's not mention Euro 2012), so in the spirit of getting our hopes up, we've decided to take a look back at some of the best goals Ireland have scored in big tournaments. 

While we haven't been to all that many finals (this is just out third trip to the Euros, of course) we more than make up for it with big performances when we get there. 

1. Ronnie Whelan vs. USSR

Under Jack Charlton, Ireland were a very difficult side to beat, although we might not have always played the prettiest football. Whelan's goal against USSR at Euro '88 combined the long ball, set-piece routines that played to our strengths with the stunning technique of a naturally gifted player. 

2. Ray Houghton vs. Italy 

Four years previous, Irish hearts had been broken by Toto Schillachi; having made it to the World Cup for the first time, we thought we were going to win the bloody thing until he popped up with an inconvenient goal that derailed our dreams. 

Giants Stadium was packed to the rafters with Irish and Italian fans, given the connections that the city has with both nations, and the scene was set perfectly for revenge. It came in some style too. 

3. Kevin Sheedy vs. England  

After Gary Lineker had given Ireland the lead, Charlton's side needed to show that they belonged at the World Cup with a big performance against a huge rival. 

The boot of Packie Banner unleashed a long ball down the field, and while Sheedy's first touch left a lot to be desired, he made no mistake when given a second bite of the cherry, driving the ball low and hard into the back of the English net. 

4. Robbie Keane vs. Saudi Arabia

A late goal against Germany kept Ireland in contention, but it set up a must-win game against Saudi Arabia.

Keane's brilliant volley opened the scoring in what turned out to be a comfortable victory, and while Mohamed Al-Deayea won't be happy with his performance here, Ireland's record goalscorer was not to be denied this stunning strike.

5. Matt Holland v Cameroon

Ireland fans who'd gotten out of their beds early to watch Mick McCarthy's team in action were not best pleased when Cameroon took the lead just before the break. However, just a few minutes into the second half, there were to be plenty of cheers heard with a dawn chorus of celebration as Matt Holland's low drive beat Boukar Aliom in the Cameroon goal. 

Here's hoping Euro 2016 supplies us with at least one or two more moments to add to this list.