Roy Keane – Dinosaur or disciplinarian?

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So, Roy Keane is in the headlines again.

No real change there then, but there’s a definite split in terms of who is backing the Irishman in his latest row, and who isn’t.

Alleged strong words were said by Keane to Harry Arter in the Republic of Ireland camp, with the latter not part of the squad for the game against Poland on Tuesday night.

Some are suggesting that Keane’s a bit of an old dinosaur and needs to wind his neck in. That what happened in his day no longer applies.

Try telling that to Sir Alex Ferguson! Continue reading

Has Marouane Fellaini won over the doubters?

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When all’s said and done, a 2nd place finish in the 2017/18 Premier League season was the best Manchester United were going to get.

That may disappoint some, but for a team that are still trying to find their identity under Jose Mourinho, it’s progress.

Something Marouane Fellaini has shown year after year at the Red Devils.

Many decry the Belgian as one dimensional, but Mourinho has always backed Fellaini to the hilt. Indeed, the Portuguese has even gone as far as saying on more than one occasion that the team is much weaker without the midfielder in it.

Continue reading

Tensions mount for France ahead of Euro 2016 match against Republic of Ireland


What if on early Sunday evening France are dumped out of their host tournament Euro 2016? Talk about pulling the plug out of the largest party France has known since the 1998 World Cup. The Republic of Ireland have that chance to do just that and to say tensions are mounting in the French camp would be an understatement.

Here in France fans are weary of the Irish who looked good against Italy with their group game victory that saw them reach the knock out rounds and have the opportunity to play the host nation. Ireland have the wind in their tails so to speak and the confidence is running wildly throughout the team. For some French fans despite the team progressing to the round of 16 easier than thought Les Bleus simply haven’t been firing on all cylinders. They have much like England relied on late goals to gloss over what has been anything but memorable performances and the fans will know that France will have to be at their best to despatch Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane’s team.

Of course there is also the question of history between these two and it is the Irish who will feel they were the victims last time out. Back in World Cup qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, both France and Ireland were paired in the play off knock out rounds to reach the finals in South Africa. The first leg in Ireland ended with a victory for the French by 1-0 but it was the 2nd leg in Paris that caused all the controversy. That match ended 1-1 after a spirited fight from the Irish but they went out 2-1 on aggregate. France’s goal was scored by William Gallas, a perfectly legit strike but he was assisted by the hand of Thierry Henry in the build up. Henry clearly did handball the ball and admitted so afterwards and it was inevitably a bitter pill for the Irish to swallow. Despite protests that the match should be replayed, FIFA denied the Irish the chance and they were out of the World Cup before it had even started.

The Irish team are bound to say that the match this Sunday is not about revenge, but it’s hard to escape the facts of what happened and the match between the two some 7 years ago will be on both sets of players minds.

There is no doubt that the city of Lyon will be on tender hooks when France meet up against Ireland both sides looking to reach the quarter final phase and play either England or Iceland in what would be another mouthwatering encounter.


Did Roy Keane go too far in his criticism of ROI’s pre-Euro 2016 friendly defeat to Belarus?

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Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane has come under some criticism for comments made about his players following their 2-1 defeat against Belarus. Ireland have been preparing for this summer’s European Championships, but their performances in recent internationals has left a lot to be desired, and Keane didn’t hold back when asked of his thoughts.

“Well, I wanted to kill some of them last night. I’ve moved on from that,” Keane said, jokingly. They should be counting their blessing that they’ve managed to get on the flight. A reality-check for one or two players who thought they were good players. Sometimes we make excuses for players – ‘they’ve not played much football’ – but they’re still training, you still control the ball, you have to run. You can still physically get into decent shape.”

“You can lack match sharpness, you can forgive a player for that but you’ve got to get yourself in a good state. Be fit. Be as strong as you can. Eat properly. Prepare properly. You’re playing international football. Control the bloody ball. Pass it to you mates and if you lose it, run back and run back like you care. They need to push themselves. That doesn’t come from the coaches,” Keane added.

Keane also signed out winger Aiden Mcgeady, suggesting the experienced midfielder “finds himself lucky to be on the flight.” Ireland’s assistant manager called for more from McGeady but also critiqued that such a request was the story of his career. Ireland manager Martin O’Neill defended the players, and feels Keane’s comments “were on the strong side”, which has led to a clarification from the former Sunderland manager in a recent press conference.

“I’m not going into what I say and don’t say to the players privately. I’ve spoken to a few of the players, not just Aiden, and I’ve done that throughout my career. I’ve no problem in speaking to players, staff members, if I feel I’ve gone overboard. That isn’t an issue for me. I’m not going into any sort of conversations I would have had with individuals or a group of players. That’s private, we move on, we get ready for next week,” Keane said.

Reports suggested his comments may have upset the atmosphere in the training camp, but the national team appear stronger than ever ahead of their long-awaited participation of the European Championships. Ireland are underdogs to progress into the next round, but relished being written by critics, and could well be a surprise package this summer.