McAteer and Houghton on the worrying moment Tommy Coyne fell ill on a flight at USA 94

Ireland legends speak to Off The Ball about major tournament experiences and reflect on Hillsborough verdict

BY Raf Diallo 21:47 Tuesday 26 April 2016, 21:47 26 Apr 2016

Pictured today: Jason McAteer and Ray Houghton ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

One of the memorable aspects of the 1994 World Cup in America was the sheer heat that players had to put up with during the tournament.

Thus, managing the fluid intake was a key part and it had worrying consequences for Ireland striker Tommy Coyne - who needed a massive intake of fluid in order to be able to urinate for a drugs test - on a post-match flight as Ray Houghton and Jason McAteer recounted on Off The Ball tonight.

"We were getting weighed every day and you weren't allowed to take any fluid after training and there was a certain amount of weight you were losing. The big lads like the goalies and one or two of the centre-forwards, I think, were losing 9-10 pounds in weight in training sessions. The likes of us were losing three or four pounds - the midfielders - so you had to get your body used to that," Houghton began.

Tommy Coyne of Ireland and Buarez of Mexico in the heat of USA 94 ©INPHO

McAteer continued: "That's the problem we had with Tommy Coyne. When Tommy played he lost so much but he got drug-tested after the game and we had a flight back to New York and obviously they said 'drink as much as you want' because you want to go to the toilet. So he basically nearly flooded himself and he took on board that much fluid after the game so quickly. He obviously passed for the drug test, then we got on the plane straight away and took off on the way back because we've ended up going high altitude, too much fluid, we had to drop altitude, lie him on the floor and basically we nearly killed him."

Houghton went on to described it as "the worst night after a game, I've ever had, I can assure you because we were obviously very worried about Tommy being unwell."  

Houghton and McAteer also reflected on today's Hillsborough verdict and the tragic events of that day in 1989.

Listen to the full interview with the former Ireland midfielders on the podcast player.

Irish football legends Jason McAteer and Ray Houghton were in Dublin today to share their #PowerOfGreen moments from their days in the green jersey. Joining them were former kit man for the Boys in Green, Charlie O'Leary and former Irish team physio, Mick Byrne.

They were speaking at the launch of SSE Airtricity's summer football campaign at Aviva Stadium. All customers who switch to SSE Airtricity will now receive the new official Ireland football jersey free, as well as 15% off their home energy.

The legends and special guests spoke about the power of the green jersey and the pride it evokes. They shared their favourite memories of wearing it, from McAteer's famous strike against Holland in '01, to Houghton putting the ball in the English net in '88 and breaking Italian hearts in '92.

With SSE AirtricityÕs Ireland jersey top offer, new memories will be made in 2016 that will last a lifetime. Fans can get theirs free by switching to SSE Airtricity today. For more information on how to switch, please


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