'It actually descended into a bit of a row out in the hotel'

Anthony Daly and Michael Duignan share memories of 1998's Clare v Offaly controversy on Off The Ball

BY Raf Diallo 20:00 Wednesday 1 July 2015, 20:00 1 Jul 2015

Angry Offaly fans protest at the end of the match when the ref blew the match up early ©INPHO/James Meehan

"It was a tough situation for everybody. Clare would have been delighted I'd say if it was re-started and the couple of minutes were played because they were three points up at the time and it descended into what it did then in history with the Offaly team's fans coming out and sitting on the pitch and obviously the replay was granted the following week. So it was a mad time looking back at it. It was a crazy match."

That was former Offaly hurler Michael Duignan on Off The Ball tonight as he and former Clare star Anthony Daly looked back on the infamous 1998 All-Ireland semi-final clashes between the teams.

Daly remembered the "surreal" nature of the Clare dressing room after that second game of three between the sides which ended with referee Jimmy Cooney blowing his whistle early, prompting the Offaly faithful's sit-down protest.

"There wasn't the sense of 'yippee', we're in the All-Ireland. Confusion was in the air a bit," he recalled, and said he was not angered by the decision to replay the game.

But for eventual champions Offaly, who appeared dead and buried by the result, Duignan reminisced about the post-match tensions.

John Reddan of Clare and Michael Duignan of Offaly ©INPHO/Patrick Bolger

"We went away out to Lucan for a meal and we had a team meeting to discuss training the next evening. There was a difference of opinion to put it mildly between a few players about why we should be training when we were basically gone out of the championship and it actually descended into a bit of a row out in the hotel," he revealed and admitted that he should have been sent off in that second match for a stroke on David Forde.

"I've always said since day one that it was a terrible stroke and something that I don't look back on at all with any fondness. It doesn't get any better over the years and I was never sent off in my life playing for Offaly - I was sent off once for the club," he said, adding that he feels that the referee considered his past disciplinary record.

Plus, he also revealed that shortly after he "clotheslined" Forde by accident and that he also got away with that as well. 

As for the referee, Daly says he has always been certain that Cooney's error with the timing in the second game was a "genuine mistake", while Duignan bumped into the referee at the Galway Races a couple of years ago and had a heart to heart with him.

"It's well time that anyone who has any grudges with Jimmy Cooney puts them to bed because that's a very decent, honest man. He was a fierce loss. He never refereed again after that," said Duignan.  

Listen to the full double interview via our GAA podcast.

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