Monday 5 December 2016

'Roy Keane has said sorry to players', reveals Martin O'Neill

Assistant manager apologises to McGeady for 'over the top' comments after Belarus game

Published 07/06/2016 | 02:30

Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill says that Roy Keane has apologised to the players that he criticised after last week's friendly defeat to Belarus.

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O'Neill's No 2 pulled no punches as he dissected the Cork display, with Jeff Hendrick, Daryl Murphy and Aiden McGeady on the receiving end of a public dressing-down.

"I think he's apologised to the players and they've accepted it, and with reasonably good heart as well," said O'Neill yesterday as the team linked up in Dublin again.

Read More: Apologetic O'Neill sets the record straight

"I think some of them are even echoing what James McClean had said to you - that it bucks you up.

"Roy has spoken to them. I think he felt, just immediately after the game, that he felt he was over the top."

Keane's comments about McGeady raised eyebrows, with the assistant suggesting that the Glaswegian's underwhelming display was the 'story of his career.' O'Neill said that the Everton winger - who has had a chequered relationship with Keane - was grateful that the Corkman sought him out.

"People like to be praised, reasonably often," said O'Neill. "People have to take a bit of criticism on the chin too and Aiden is old enough to take it but I think he appreciated the apology from Roy."

Read More: Roy Keane and Aiden McGeady spoke face-to-face to address Ireland assistant's withering criticisms

O'Neill praised Keane's overall contribution and said that, as manager, he must also accept blame if any staff member upsets a player.

"The only thing I'll say about it is this: you do ask for Roy to come and speak to you (press). I'm happy with that. When he does, and I say 'you go and do the press' then it's my responsibility," he continued.

"Roy's been excellent throughout the tournament. As regards his position and influence here - outside of the odd remark that he makes - he's been terrific."

The Ireland squad fly to France tomorrow, with Jon Walters and Robbie Brady set to miss this morning's training session in Abbotstown.

Irish Independent

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