| 18.1°C Dublin

Roy Keane battles through another chaotic storm

Close

"How long before O'Neill, and his FAI bosses, for all their current support, tire of the Keane side-show?"

"How long before O'Neill, and his FAI bosses, for all their current support, tire of the Keane side-show?"

SPORTSFILE

"How long before O'Neill, and his FAI bosses, for all their current support, tire of the Keane side-show?"

JUST two were brave enough to defy the storm that swept in howling gusts from the Irish Sea - one was a lone surfer, deftly skimming the waves off the Malahide coast. The other was Roy Keane.

Steely-faced, jaw-jutting and with that old familiar glare, Keane stood squarely and recklessly against the squall, almost seeming to relish how the physical elements were perfectly mirroring the chaos that was - yet again - swirling all around him.

"Anything to say, Roy?" "What's your own version of it?" "Why did you not want to sign the book?" The format of the questions, no matter how temptingly they might have been phrased, was irrelevant.

"Martin will be talking later," he said, in response to the first question.

And that was all Roy would say on his way to the cafe. Though for a split second, we had the distinct impression that he was sorely tempted to say something else, as those eyes swivelled alarmingly in the trademark Keano way. And we had a fair idea what that something might have been.

He had arrived almost an hour early ahead of the 10am training session that would be the last before the team set off for Glasgow in the afternoon.

As the bus arrived, the players gave a tired, flickering glance out the window at the media scrum - a distraction like this was the last thing they needed a day before an international.

Conditions were punishing and even the players - accustomed to the unique challenges of Gannon Park, where they are regularly block-tackled by the wind - were breath-taken by the physics-defying new curve they were able to put on the ball.

Roy was standing alongside all the while, arms folded and chewing gum, kicking out a ball now and again, picking up the cones and saying the odd word to the players.

They could only stick it for half an hour and were then back on the bus to the hotel ahead of their Glasgow chartered flight.

At the airport, die-hard Ireland fans Sandra Greene, from Knocklyon, in Dublin, and Brian Crowley, from Portmarnock, in Dublin, dismissed the Keane debacle as a storm in a tea cup.

They had more pressing matters on their mind - chiefly the ticket allocation. "Roy Keane will not be the first thing on our minds," said Sandra grimly.

But choppy conditions remain.

Irish Independent