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Roy: It's important Martin and I get to LOI games

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Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane takes his seat ahead of the President's Cup final. Picture credit: SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane takes his seat ahead of the President's Cup final. Picture credit: SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane takes his seat ahead of the President's Cup final. Picture credit: SPORTSFILE

THE League of Ireland will be a priority for Ireland's senior international management team, according to assistant boss Roy Keane.

"I think it's important Martin and myself look at the League of Ireland players. I think it's important we go and watch the games. I think people have been far too negative about LOI football. I think it's very good, I think a lot of the teams are trying to play good football now," he said.

"Cobh was great for me as I was playing League of Ireland football. It gets heavily criticised, but playing in it was great for me. It was tough and Cobh were in the First Division, but I met some good lads."

Keane's involvement with the game here has blossomed since he became assistant manager and as well as becoming an advocate for the LOI, he has had close contact with many of Ireland's best underage players, rekindling his own memories of first steps in the ruthless world of professional football in England.

"I went to Forest at 19 and that experience was fantastic. I met the Ireland U17 squad a few weeks ago. You forget how young they are – 16," he said.

"I can only speak of my own experience, I don't think it would have suited me going over to England at 16, but I can understand how difficult it can be for young lads to turn it on when they have the chance. Going over at 19 suited my personality. I had had a year with Cobh and a year on the FAS course, I was physically fine and physically bigger.

"I had full-time training and Forest was the right club for me, I got the right manager and the way they played the game.

"My heart does go out to young Irish players. Sometimes you might end up in London at a big club, they might get injured," he said.

The suspicion is that under his watch, any player in such dire circumstances will be well looked after.


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