Relief and celebration at Dublin Airport as the Republic of Ireland soccer team return after a tense night in Belfast.

The Republic of Ireland qualified for the 1994 World Cup Finals following a one all draw with Northern Ireland in Belfast and Spain beating Denmark by one goal to nil in Seville.

Amid security concerns, there were few Republic of Ireland supporters at the game in Windsor Park Belfast. Republic of Ireland fans at home and aboard packed into bars to watch a night of drama unfold. Northern Ireland took the lead with a goal from Jimmy Quinn before an equaliser from Alan McLoughlin meant the game finished a draw.

Attention now turned to the result in Seville. With that game in additional time, stress levels among Irish supporters were through the roof until relief at the final whistle meant victory for Spain and qualification for the World Cup Finals in the USA for the Republic of Ireland.

Thousands were at Dublin Airport to welcome home their heroes when after the short flight from Belfast the Republic of Ireland landed. Taoiseach Albert Reynolds was there to congratulate Jack Charlton and the team.   

At a press conference, Jack Charlton admitted that when Northern Ireland scored he thought the chance of qualification had gone.

 I was a bit depressed. I mean we had had so many chances before that and then all of a sudden the ball has gone up the left hand side bang into the middle. He has a hit a volley that he had to jump six feet to get and it has flown in under the bar.  

As the management and players headed off to celebrate before returning to their clubs in England, Football Association of Ireland (FAI) General Secretary Sean Connolly left in the boot of a car.   

An RTÉ News report broadcast 18 November 1993. The reporter is Una O'Hagan.