Damien Duff has told the brilliant story of a drunken night at the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan where he and teammate Stephen Reid ended up doing stand-up comedy in a Japanese club.
The tournament was a rollercoaster for the Boys in Green, from Roy Keane leaving in Saipan, to Robbie Keane’s late equaliser against Germany to eventual penalty shootout heartbreak at the hands of Spain.
Ireland have failed to reach a World Cup since that tournament and one of their standout players on the world stage was winger Damien Duff.
Duff was excellent throughout the tournament, finding the net against Saudi Arabia but it wasn’t just on the pitch where the then Blackburn man had fun.
Speaking to the Open Goal podcast, Duff began by outlining that there were a few nights where he and the Irish team were up until all hours celebrating.
“I got lamped a few times at that World Cup. Germany obviously the last-minute goal from Robbie (Keane) we drank until four in the morning. Would I do it now? No.
🎥⚽️| Damien Duff on a brilliant story from his #Ireland days that includes:
2002 World Cup ✅
A Messy Team Night Out ✅
He and Steven Reid Doing Stand-Up at a Japanese Comedy Club at 3am ✅ 🤣🤣
Full Interview w/ Damien Duff MONDAY @ 5PM pic.twitter.com/rreb0l1RdP
— Open Goal (@opengoalsport) July 10, 2020
“I remember we snuck out. Mick took us down to the bar, Spain were playing their last group game, you could go to bar and watch the game. I think there were 12 of us because we called ourselves the dirty dozen, we watched the game then were told, ‘Right up to bed,’ but 12 of us snuck out to an Irish bar and stayed there until two or three in the morning.
Duff continued by recalling the time he and teammate Steven Reid decided to neglect going to a nightclub in the early hours, instead trying their hand at stand-up comedy.
“I think everyone went back home. Footballers with money would usually go to a strip club or a nightclub, me and Steven Reid decided to go to a stand-up comedy club where you could put your name down and do a sketch on stage.
“I’m so glad back then there was no camera phones really at the time. I put my name down, I was lamped like so I went up and did my sketch on stage, then Reidy goes up after me and does his sketch. Thank God there’s no footage of this stuff. “