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The Team That Mick Built – Part Three: ‘The first tackle Roy made. I knew, I knew, this was our day’

Paul Kimmage


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Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy shake hands at the end of Ireland's World Cup qualifying win over the Netherlands at Lansdowne Road on September 1, 2001

Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy shake hands at the end of Ireland's World Cup qualifying win over the Netherlands at Lansdowne Road on September 1, 2001

Roy Keane, Republic of Ireland, in action against Holland's Ruud Van Nistelrooy. Republic of Ireland v Holland, World Cup Qualifier, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Soccer. Picture credit; David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Roy Keane, Republic of Ireland, in action against Holland's Ruud Van Nistelrooy. Republic of Ireland v Holland, World Cup Qualifier, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Soccer. Picture credit; David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Ireland's Jason McAteer scores Ireland's against the Netherlands in the 2002 World Cup qualifier at Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Photo: Aoife Rice/Sportsfile

Ireland's Jason McAteer scores Ireland's against the Netherlands in the 2002 World Cup qualifier at Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Photo: Aoife Rice/Sportsfile

1 September 2001; Ruud Van Nistelrooy of Netherlands is blocked by Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given and team-mate Steve Staunton during the FIFA World Cup 2002 Group 2 Qualifier match between Republic of Ireland and Netherlands at Lansdowne Road in Dublin. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

1 September 2001; Ruud Van Nistelrooy of Netherlands is blocked by Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given and team-mate Steve Staunton during the FIFA World Cup 2002 Group 2 Qualifier match between Republic of Ireland and Netherlands at Lansdowne Road in Dublin. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

1 September 2001; Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal speaks to the 4th official Helmut Fleischer during the FIFA World Cup 2002 Group 2 Qualifier match between Republic of Ireland and Netherlands at Lansdowne Road in Dublin. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

1 September 2001; Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal speaks to the 4th official Helmut Fleischer during the FIFA World Cup 2002 Group 2 Qualifier match between Republic of Ireland and Netherlands at Lansdowne Road in Dublin. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

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Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy shake hands at the end of Ireland's World Cup qualifying win over the Netherlands at Lansdowne Road on September 1, 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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