Friday, October 14, 2005


A legend departs

Roy Keane has announced his retirement from international football following the Irish team's failure to make the play-offs for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

In a statement released to RTE, Keane said:

"Like all football supporters in the country, I am disappointed that the Republic of Ireland failed to qualify for the World Cup finals. Despite the efforts of Brian Kerr, his staff and the squad who made an endeavour to qualify.

"I believe recent criticism of Brian in the media is unjust and unfair.

"I would like to thank the players and staff for their efforts. Much as I would like to continue playing for my country, I feel the time has come to retire from international football and concentrate on domestic football for whatever is the remainder of my career.

"I would like to thank everyone for the support they have given me throughout my international career."

It's a shame to see this happen but it was to be expected. We will never see another player like Roy Keane again. I don't think Manchester United will either when he eventually hangs up his boots at Old Trafford.

Without a doubt the most outspoken and controversial footballer in Irish history and perhaps the most controversial Irish sportsman. Full stop.

Opinion on Keane is sharply divided in this country. Some adore him, others detest him. I have friends and family who fit into both categories. Personally, I think he is fantastic and I'm glad he returned to the side for one last hurrah. I wish him well at club level with Manchester United.

My favourite Keane display in a green jersey was against the mighty Dutch at Lansdowne Road in a crucial World Cup Qualifier in 2001. In the opening seconds, Keane crashed into Marc Overmars thus setting the tone for the rest of the game. Welcome to Dublin, Marc. You're in for a tough oul' day. They were. Ireland won the game 1-0, and with 10 men. Keane was world class that day.

Sorry Robbie, but there's only one Keano. And we'll never forget him.


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