Three of the best football stories from 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, we look back at some of the feel good football stories during what was at times a challenging 12 months for many.

If you were lucky enough to attend any of the games associated with our high points then you have memories for life.

Leicester City winning the Premier League

Arguably the most spine tingling moment of 2016 was watching a proud Claudio Ranieri pushing his chest out as Andrea Bochelli wowed us with a rendition of Nessun Dorma as Leicester City’s Premier League title winning party got underway.

One of the finest opera singers ever, Bocelli endeared himself to supporters by removing his jacket midway through the performance to reveal a City shirt as the King Power Stadium rocked as a sea of blue and white.

It was the perfect ending to a whirlwind season that saw Leicester shock the Premier League by claiming the title with just three losses to their name.

The Foxes finished ten points clear of runners up Arsenal and gave a proverbial two fingers to the bookies who listed them at 5000/1 to finish top before a ball was kicked.

Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez were the poster boys of Ranieri’s team but a solid spine that included Kasper Schmeichel, Wes Morgan, Robert Huth, N’golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater was just as important.

We may never see the likes of it again in the top flight of English football and it was thoroughly enjoyable to see the script torn to shreds, even if it was just for one year.

Dundalk’s domestic and European success

Robbie Benson’s stunning strike against Legia Warsaw in the Champions League qualifiers will be just one of the outstanding memories from 2016 for Dundalk fans.

Stephen Kenny juggled a hectic domestic and European schedule to guide the club to their third consecutive Airtiricity League Premier Division title and the group stage of the Europa League.

They played excellent football along the way and their journey captivated football fans across the continent as they put it up to clubs whose financial muscle dwarfed their own.

Of course, such success comes with its downside and Dundalk’s players are now more highly coveted than ever before.

Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle have already joined Preston North End in the English Championship, while Ronan Finn has returned to Shamrock Rovers as club captain.

However, Kenny has the resources to rebuild and the Lilywhite should be there or thereabouts once more next season.

Iceland beating England at Euro 2016

The Viking Clap may have been done to death in the aftermath but Iceland’s run at Euro 2016 was the feel good story of the summer.

A draw with eventual winners Portugal in their opening group game turned a few heads, and another point against Austria plus a win over Hungary secured a spot in the knockout stage.

Waiting for them in the last 16 were England, the perennial disappointment at major international tournaments.

Roy Hodgson’s side got off to the perfect start as Wayne Rooney’s fourth minute penalty gave them an early lead.

However, Iceland’s character shone through and they were ahead just 14 minutes later thanks to goals from Ragnar Sigurðsson and Kolbeinn Sigþórsson.

The latter’s strike also have us the wonderful moment of Sky Sports punditry from ex-England boss Steve McClaren and, in true Ralph Wiggum fashion, you could see the moment that his heart rips in two.

Iceland went on to lose 5-2 to France in the quarter finals but their campaign was without doubt a great success.

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