after almost 30 years in the international wilderness, Northern Ireland are dreaming again of the promised land.
The 1986 World Cup was the last time the Belfast boys qualified for a major tournament and former Shamrock Rovers boss Michael O'Neill (45) is the man behind their success.
He was appointed three years ago and won only one of his first 18 games, which was one of the reasons Northern Ireland were down in pot five when the draw was made for Euro 2016.
For once the draw was a little kinder than usual, although even optimists among the Irish support were hardly expecting their team to fly out of the traps with three wins out of three and go into tonight's tie away to Romania on top of Group F.
"It's been a fantastic start," Northern Ireland's most capped player, Pat Jennings. The danger, Jennings now feels, is getting carried away. "Romania will be a tough one," he said.
ROMANIA v NORTHERN IRELAND, LIVE SKY SP 2 (KO 7.45)