Before Michael O'Neill took charge of the Northern Ireland national side, the previous bright spot they had was during the reign of Lawrie Sanchez when they shocked both England and Spain, while rising almost 80 places up the FIFA rankings.
Those achievements were among the topics I spoke to ex-Wimbledon and Northern Ireland midfielder Sanchez as he joined us on Team 33 for a chat about his a playing career that saw him score the winning goal in the 1988 as the Crazy Gang shocked Liverpool at Wembley in the FA Cup final and a management career that took him to the Premier League with Fulham as well as Greece.
But it all started at Sligo Rovers in 1994 as he wound down his playing career and began the transition into coaching.
You can listen to the interview with Lawrie Sanchez on the podcast player or stream/download on iTunes:
Recent interviews on Team 33 include former Man United cult hero Andrei Kanchelskis, ex-England international Carlton Palmer, Chelsea legends Bobby Tambling and Paddy Mulligan, Dutch legend Johan Neeskens, ex-England striker Darius Vassell, Liverpool legend David Fairclough, former Ireland midfielder Mark Kinsella and former Everton forward Tomasz Radzinski. Plus our in-depth chats with Tony Coton, Packie Bonner, Nobby Solano, Ron Atkinson and Alan Curbishley are still available on iTunes. You can find them all in one place by subscribing to Team 33 on iTunes.
"I wanted to get into management. I'd done my coaching badges, I'd done my full licence and the opportunity came up to Sligo and Sligo have a reputation for appointing English managers and English players to be fair," he said.
"I got the call and I went out to have a look and met the chairman and quite liked what I saw. I thought, 'Well, this is a good place to start my career' out of the limelight. I could see if I like it, make mistakes and nobody in England would be really interested in it."
As a player-manager in 1994-95 finished solidly in the League of Ireland Premier Division and also had a run in the FAI Cup. But aside from "learning experience" on the pitch, he loved the area around Sligo.
"I lived just out by Rosses Point, the finger that goes out into the sea. In fact, one of my first flights up there, Tiger Woods was on my plane. He was going up to Rosses Point to practice as an amateur before going over to The Open. That was quite interesting," he said.
"I heard Americans shouting out, 'Tiger, Tiger'. All I remember thinking at the time was how are you going to have a chance in life if you're called Tiger? But of course they knew him from the college circuit in America and was quite a big name already by then, by the time he was an amateur. Little did I know, later on in life, he'd become the phenomenon that he was."
Next week, we're reflecting on the Irish soccer year with ex-League of Ireland manager Mick Cooke and the week after, it's our end-of-year/Christmas special where we'll be talking about football books, films and documentaries so if any caught your eye that you want us to discuss, get in touch by tweeting us @teamthirtythree.