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The Team That Mick Built – Part One: The stars, young guns and characters that beat the Dutch

Paul Kimmage


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Ireland players, from left, Steve Finnan, Matt Holland, Lee Carsley, Mark Kinsella, Kenny Cunningham, Jason McAteer and Gary Kelly listen to manager Mick McCarthy during a training session in 2001

Ireland players, from left, Steve Finnan, Matt Holland, Lee Carsley, Mark Kinsella, Kenny Cunningham, Jason McAteer and Gary Kelly listen to manager Mick McCarthy during a training session in 2001

Ian Harte and Robbie Keane of and manager Mick McCarthy, applaud the Ireland supporters following the FIFA World Cup 2002 Group 2 qualifier against Estonia at Lillekula Stadium in Tallinn, Estonia

Ian Harte and Robbie Keane of and manager Mick McCarthy, applaud the Ireland supporters following the FIFA World Cup 2002 Group 2 qualifier against Estonia at Lillekula Stadium in Tallinn, Estonia

Manager Mick McCarthy in conversation with Steve Staunton, left, and Niall Quinn following an Ireland training session in Tallinn, Estonia back in June 2001. Photo by Damien Eagers/Sportsfile

Manager Mick McCarthy in conversation with Steve Staunton, left, and Niall Quinn following an Ireland training session in Tallinn, Estonia back in June 2001. Photo by Damien Eagers/Sportsfile

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Ireland players, from left, Steve Finnan, Matt Holland, Lee Carsley, Mark Kinsella, Kenny Cunningham, Jason McAteer and Gary Kelly listen to manager Mick McCarthy during a training session in 2001

The 20th anniversary of Saipan is approaching. For seven days in May 2002, the country was captivated by an extraordinary row between Ireland manager Mick McCarthy and Ireland captain Roy Keane on a small island in the Pacific Ocean, on the eve of the World Cup.

The fall-out of that controversy still reverberates to this day. But before Saipan, there was a qualifying campaign which pitted Ireland in a group with Portugal and Netherlands.


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