Tuesday 27 September 2016

"I nearly quit when Roy Keane returned to Ireland set up" - Packie Bonner

Published 24/09/2015 | 10:48

Roy Keane and Packie Bonner hace words in Saipan
Roy Keane and Packie Bonner hace words in Saipan

Packie Bonner has revealed he almost walked out on Ireland when Roy Keane returned to the set-up under Brian Kerr in 2005.

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Bonner was very much in the Mick McCarthy camp when Keane walked out of the World Cup squad in Saipan in 2002 and in his autobiography, The Last Line, Bonner admits that he tried to talk Kerr out of bringing the Corkman back into the Ireland fold.

"One of the most controversial decisions Brian made when he took the job was to open  discussions with Roy Keane to see if he would come back into the squad," writes Bonner.

"He was trying to make a big impact at the start but, naturally, I was none too pleased and I made it clear to Brian during our staff meetings," added Bonner, who was a goalkeeping coach at the time.

"I didn't think Roy should have been given the opportunity; after all, he had the chance to come back before and turned it down.

"I have to be honest and say I thought seriously about walking away from the job, but in the end I came to the conclusion: Why should I?

"I was not the one who left the squad and it was never in my make-up to consider putting myself before my country. I had a serious job to do, to help the international goalkeepers, guys who turned up without question or favour when selected and worked endlessly to achieve success for the cause."

Bonner had a run in with Keane in Saipan and said he tried to clear the air when the current Irish assistant manager returned under Kerr.

"Roy came in for his first game back but disappeared as quickly, having picked up an injury," added the Donegal man.

"I went to his room just before he left but he didn't want to talk, limiting himself to 'we will catch up the next time'.

"He played in a number of other games under Brian but we never had that chat!"

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