The 35th anniversary of Cookstown’s Northern Ireland Supporter’s Club (NISC), was marked with a special reception at Mid-Ulster Council.
Organised by council chair Trevor Wilson - who was also the groups first ever chairperson - the event saw 25 members gather to share stories from 35 years following Northern Ireland on the road.
Congratulating Cookstown NISC on reaching the milestone, Cllr Wilson commended members on their sportsmanship over the years - a trait that won the respect and admiration of fans from across Europe during summer 2016.
Founded in 1981, the aim of the club was to provide local supporters to the Green and White Army, and the club’s history now spans World Cups of 1982 and 1986 and their recent Euro 2016 appearance.
A spokesperson for the club, which was originally dubbed “First Royal Cookstown NISC” in respect of its support from late Royal Hotel owner said: “The 35 years have without doubt been a rollercoaster as the glory years of the 1980s were replaced with a long spell in the wilderness.
“Memorable victories over teams such as England and Spain helped to keep the pride and passion burning until our beloved Northern Ireland finally stepped back out unto the world stage at the Euro 2016 Finals.
“The memories of our qualification to France and the games in Nice, Lyon and Paris will live long in the memory for all Northern Ireland supporters.
“With local legends Aaron Hughes, Stuart Dallas and Niall McGinn currently in the squad there remains plenty for Cookstown NISC to cheer.”
Speaking at the anniversary event, club chair Andrew Hagan said: “This is a very proud occasion for Cookstown NISC as their contribution to the local community had been officially recognised.
“This is a family club and remains an integral part of the local community as we continue to present local charities and groups with an average of £1,000 per year.”
Some that have recently benefited include Superstars, Roberta’s Wish, Niamh Louise Foundation and Cookstown Adult Centre.
From their first visit to Scotland, the group have followed NIFC to some of the world’s finest stadiums and they are hoping Russia is next.