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Keane: 2002 strike was Cork GAA’s Saipan

By Clive Hetherington, Sunderland
FORMER Republic of Ireland captain Roy Keane last night compared the 2002 Cork player strike to being “along the lines of what happened to me with Ireland in Saipan.”


The Sunderland boss admits he is aware of the dispute which has rocked his native county for the past three months but added: “I don’t know all the ins and outs of it.”

But Keane admitted that the Cork players are not strangers to conflict and praised them for fighting their corner. “I know previously they had their problems, a few years ago”




“I know they are on strike again because of the problem with the selectors.

“I met with the hurlers two or three years ago, I think it might have been before the Munster final, and they discussed with me their previous problems, but that was more a case of the way the players were being treated in terms of gear, travelling and losing out on money because of work.

“I was very supportive of them because a lot of them were speaking to me along the lines of what happened to me with Ireland in Saipan.

“So obviously I identified with them and they identified with me.

“I had a good conversation with them at the time, but I think it would be unfair of me to comment on it this time because I don’t know the issues in terms of why they are on strike now.

“I know it’s probably to do with the selectors and the manager. I don’t know the ins and outs, but I was supportive the last time they were on strike because they were obviously getting treated very, very badly.

“To people in Cork, hurling is probably the number one sport. The Cork hurlers have been great for Cork over the years so they will have support (from the people). You have to get the balance right here. I think it was all well and good three or four years ago with the way they were being treated.

But he warned: “If you think players can start picking and choosing selectors, that can be an issue.

“But there’s more to it than that, from what I hear.”

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