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May 28 – On this day in Saipan 20 years ago: The line is finally drawn

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Honorary Treasurer of the FAI John Delaney, alongside FAI Honorary Secretary Des Casey, during a press conference at FAI Headquarters in Merrion Square, Dublin, in 2002. Photo by Damien Eagers/Sportsfile

Honorary Treasurer of the FAI John Delaney, alongside FAI Honorary Secretary Des Casey, during a press conference at FAI Headquarters in Merrion Square, Dublin, in 2002. Photo by Damien Eagers/Sportsfile

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Honorary Treasurer of the FAI John Delaney, alongside FAI Honorary Secretary Des Casey, during a press conference at FAI Headquarters in Merrion Square, Dublin, in 2002. Photo by Damien Eagers/Sportsfile

“They think it’s all over...it is now”

On this occasion, the front page headline cuts straight to the chase. It’s stated that the team’s decision to vote against a comeback, the communication of which was mishandled, was the deciding factor. The lead story says: “Hopes of a resolution were kept alive throughout the day with a stream of telephone calls between agent Michael Kennedy, and the FAI’s treasurer John Delaney who was in touch with FAI chiefs in Japan.”

But shortly before 8pm, a final Keane statement functioned as the game over, ball burst. “I do not consider that the best interests of Irish football will be served by my returning to the World Cup,” he said. “The damage has been done. I wish the team and management the best.”

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Meanwhile, it is added that a 30-year-old woman was arrested after pelting the FAI HQ with eggs. “She let fly with eggs at a window as a crowd of 150 people had gathered,” it is reported.

Other fans are exploring drastic measures to sort things out. Plasterer Jim Redmond from Raheny has pledged to donate €100,000 of his savings to a charity of Roy Keane’s choice if the former captain returns to play, and urged other fans to do the same to ‘make the two big men come to their senses.’

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Alas, that ship appears to have sailed. Reports of a JP McManus jet being on standby to transport Keane to Asia became a footnote.

We are told that right up to the end, Delaney was involved in desperate eleventh-hour efforts.

Maybe this guy has a future.

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The sport lead says that ‘with the notable exception of John Delaney’, the FAI have committed a series of own-goals.

ELSEWHERE ON PAGE 1:

THE Aer Lingus situation is escalating. It is grounding all flights from the next day ‘with no clear date’ for a resumption of activity as tensions with pilots remain high. This is the issue that knocks Roy Keane off the front page on May 30.

ELSEWHERE IN SPORT:

FIFA’s Congress is a farce with Sepp Blatter accused of just allowing his supporters to speak ahead of his bid for re-election. Voices handed the microphone include Muammar Gadaffi, the son of the Libyan president.


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