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Ticket chaos, IV drips and dispatches from 'Porridge': Fans' tales of USA 94 drama have their own legacy

A World Cup in the US was always going to appeal to the travelling Irish supporter. Daniel McDonnell hears tales of the off-field dramas that left their own legacy

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Brian Freeman, Declan Falvey, Johnny ‘Porridge’ O’Connor, Podge Freeman, Steve Dowling and Robbie Freeman at Giants Stadium

Brian Freeman, Declan Falvey, Johnny ‘Porridge’ O’Connor, Podge Freeman, Steve Dowling and Robbie Freeman at Giants Stadium

Joe McCarthy (left) and his friend Michael Moynihan (second from left) alongside fans including Roy Keane’s father Maurice (third from left) in New York

Joe McCarthy (left) and his friend Michael Moynihan (second from left) alongside fans including Roy Keane’s father Maurice (third from left) in New York

O’Connor with Joe Curran and Charlie McCreevy

O’Connor with Joe Curran and Charlie McCreevy

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Brian Freeman, Declan Falvey, Johnny ‘Porridge’ O’Connor, Podge Freeman, Steve Dowling and Robbie Freeman at Giants Stadium

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Johnny 'Porridge' O'Connor is a farmer from Kerry that very much sounds like a farmer from Kerry.

So when he was leaving Windsor Park on that epic night in November 1993 and was asked by a random Northern Ireland supporter if he knew the result of the Spain and Denmark match that would confirm if Alan McLoughlin's late equaliser had put the Republic into the World Cup, Porridge knew that he had to improvise. The spoken word was not his friend.

Thinking on his feet, he used the fingers of both hands to create shapes that reflected 0-0, successfully got the message through with a nod, and swiftly headed for the exit.


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