For many, 1998 is still one of the best hurling championships of all time, not so much for what happened on the pitch, but for what happened off it. 20 years later, we relive one of the most dramatic years in the life of Irish Hurling, where the summers' games became our national soap opera.
This documentary tells how Offaly lost the Leinster Final to Kilkenny and then embark on an epic journey after their Manager Babs Keating is sacked after calling them 'a heap of sheep'.
Clare and Waterford draw in the Munster Final. It rains just before the ball is thrown in for the relay. Willie Barrett, the referee, delays the throw in while he speaks with officials on the sideline. The summer erupts. Two players are sent off and Colin Lynch - Clare midfielder - eventually gets a lengthy ban.
The following night, RTÉ Radio 1's programme, Sportscall is - to put it mildly - heated. Ger Loughnane gives a frank and controversial interview to Clare FM.
Following this, Clare meet Offaly and the tense affair ends in a draw. Clare and Offaly meet again and with Clare three points up, the referee whistles up the game three minutes early. The Offaly supporters sit down on the pitch. The affair is named after the referee - Jimmy Cooney. Offaly defeat Kilkenny in the All Ireland Final.
This documentary contains interviews with Johnny Pilkington, Willie O'Connor, Paul Flynn, Jimmy Cooney who give an account of the year.
Narrated by Peter Woods.
Produced by Peter Woods and Liam O'Brien
First broadcast June 29th 2008
An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries