EURO 2016: Niall McGinn looking forward to France

Former Derry City winger Niall McGinn admits the count-down for the European Championships, in France, is now well and truly on.

Saturday, 28th May 2016, 2:26 pm
Updated Saturday, 28th May 2016, 3:28 pm
Ex-Derry City winger Niall McGinn pictured with the giant billboards featuring the Northern Ireland squad and manager Michael O'Neill which are up across the country as the excitement around EURO 2016 begins in earnest. Picture by William Cherry

McGinn, who was named in Michael O’Neill’s 23 man Northern Ireland squad, believes the side will want to keep their unbeaten run, which now stretches to 11 games, going ahead of next month’s tournament.

Next Saturday Northern Ireland face Slovakia in Antona Malatinského Stadium, in Trnava, in what will be their final game before their Euro opener against Poland, in Nice, on Sunday June 12.

“We want to keep the momentum going, so if we can get a positive result against Slovakia that would be great, it’s the one game now before the tournament, so we have to make the most of it,” he said.
“We are all massively looking forward to the tournament and the main thing for us at Windsor Park last night was to put on a performance, obviously get a win for the fans, which sort of sends us off nicely.
“It was a great result for us to boost the confidence before we head onto France.”

The ex-Dungannon Swifts man was also happy that strikers Kyle Lafferty, Conor Washington and Will Grigg were all on the score-sheet against Belarus in what was the perfect send off in front of the Green and White Army.

“We have one more competitive game before the Euros and the momentum is the main thing for us, we are now 11 unbeaten, so we just have to keep it going,” he added.

“The boys done well tonight and obviously it was great to see Conor getting another goal and Kyle and it was nice to see Griggsy come off the bench and get a goal as well.”

McGinn also confirmed that he goes into next month’s Euro’s in good form having finished the season well with Aberdeen.

“Personally the season was great for me, I finished on double figures with 12 goals and had 13 or 14 assists, which was one of the best in the league, which was great for me personally,” he said.

“I had a meeting with the manager (Derek McInnes) before the last five games of the season and he said for me to just go out and enjoy it and try to score a few goals; thankfully I scored three goals in five games and I was delighted with my own performances.

“I felt fit and I felt good and I just want to keep myself right if called upon in the Euros.”