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'There Were Letters' - Damien Duff On Most Famous Ireland Goal Celebration

By PJ Browne
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Damien Duff didn't score many goals for Ireland, that's something which still grates with him.

One of his eight goals was not just memorable because it was scored at a World Cup but also due to the celebration which followed. In the 87th minute of Ireland's 2002 World Cup Group E game against Saudi Arabia, Duff's shot slipped through the hands of Mohamed Al-Deayea.


He followed it by bowing in front of the crowd at the International Stadium in Yokohama.

Duff told Eamon Dunphy on his podcast 'The Stand' that the celebration was not a spontaneous decision, it had been cooked up while brushing his teeth earlier in the day.

I was obviously desperate to score in a World Cup. It grates with me now that I didn't score many goals for Ireland.

Robbie was obviously banging them in. He had cartwheels and bows and arrows. I can remember brushing my teeth and thinking, 'If you score tonight, what would you do?'

It was only because all the Japanese and Koreans were always bowing at you. They were just so respectful, which I couldn't understand. It was just a little gesture back to them.

Irish fans were not the only ones to remember that celebration favourably. For years later, Asian fans would hound the winger, both in person at English club games and via letters.

It probably caused me a lot of stress over the years. Asian fans really clocked onto me and they'd be turning up at Newcastle and Fulham. There were letters. I wouldn't change it.

See Also: 'You Couldn't Leave The Hotel, There Were 20,000 Fans Outside Drinking'

Picture credit; David Maher / SPORTSFILE *EDI*


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