Raging Roy Keane sticks the boot in as Republic legend blasts: Ireland didn't deserve to reach the World Cup

By Sportsmail Reporter and Mel Henderson

roy keane

No holding back: Keane

Roy Keane had little sympathy for the Football Association of Ireland's unsuccessful campaign to have their controversial World Cup play-off against France replayed and said: 'What goes around comes around.'

The Irish FA and Republic manager Giovanni Trapattoni had made an impassioned plea to FIFA and the French Federation to replay Wednesday's World Cup play-off after Thierry Henry's blatant double handball led to France's extra-time winner.

The Irish players claimed they were victims of a conspiracy to ensure Europe's leading nations made the final but FIFA today ruled that the result stands.

Ipswich manager Keane's relationship with the FAI broke down following his walk-out from the Republic of Ireland training camp prior to the 2002 World Cup.  

And he dismissed their calls for 'the honesty and integrity' of the sport to be protected in the wake of Henry's handball.

He said: 'I think the supporters deserve better, the manager (Giovanni Trapattoni) deserves better and probably most of the players deserve better, but I'm not sure the FAI deserve better. What goes around comes around.'

Keane also accused the Irish players of lacking mental strength when it mattered most.

He added: 'They were afraid of that next step. Mentally, not strong enough. They can complain all they want but it’s not going to change. France are going to the World Cup and they need to get over it.

'They want the sympathy. It’s the usual carry on. It’s boring – they would bore you to death they would.

'The same old Ireland – the world’s against us – and because it was a handball it’s a great excuse.

'We’ve even had English managers being interviewed about it. As if they are bothered.
Do you think they were lying awake the other night worrying about Ireland? It’s nonsense. If it was England do you think I would be worried? I wouldn’t be.'

Keane pointed out that controversial decisions also went Ireland's way in the qualifying campaign, not least a harsh penalty award against Georgia which helped them to claim a 2-1 qualifying win in February.

thierry henry

Slow motion: Keane insists Henry would never have had the time or the space in the Ireland penalty area if the team had defended properly

He added: 'Ireland had their chances in the two games (against France), and they never took them. But it's the usual FAI reaction - "we've been robbed, the honesty of the game..."

'There was one match against Georgia where Ireland got a penalty and it was one of the worst decisions I've ever seen which changed the whole course of the game.

'I don't remember the FAI after the game saying we should give them a replay.'

Talking specifically about France's winner, Keane laid the blame on Ireland's defence rather than Henry, who handled the ball before crossing for William Gallas to head in.

'I'd focus on why they didn't clear it,' he said. 'I'd be more annoyed with my defenders and my goalkeeper than Thierry Henry. How can you let the ball bounce in your six-yard box? How can you let Thierry Henry get goal-side of you?

'If the ball goes into the six-yard box, where the hell is my goalkeeper?

'Henry is a top, top player who took advantage of the situation. It was his instinct. Sometimes when you go for the ball you stick out your  leg, or your hand, whatever it might be.

'Would I call Henry a cheat? No, I don’t think so. Did he bend the rules a  little bit? Yes, but we see cheating going on all the time in games. It could be hand-ball or it could be diving. The game’s full of it. Of course it should be stopped but it’s FIFA who have to do it.

'What can you or I do about it? Drop them an email? I’ve been amazed at the commotion over the last few days. They’re  going on about Henry’s hand-ball – and of course he handled it – but I’d focus on why they didn’t clear it.'

Keane's antipathy towards the FAI stems back to the Pacific island of Saipan seven years ago when he left the team's pre-World Cup training camp, complaining that the facilities were sub-standard.

'(FAI chief executive) John Delaney is on about honesty and integrity but I wouldn’t take  any notice of that man.

'People forget the last time Ireland were in the World Cup in 2002. People seem to forget what was going on.

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Back in the fold: Keane returned to the Ireland team in 2004

'That man’s on about honesty. I was one of the players and he didn’t even have the courtesy to ring me. He got interviewed and all he said was ‘I don’t know where he is. He’s on the island somewhere I think’.

'I’ve been involved with Ireland since I was 15 years of age and that man didn’ t even have the decency to make a phone call. He could have phoned me – of  course he could. He could have tried my hotel room.

'He didn’t want to listen to my side of the story. I had a disagreement with Mick (McCarthy, then Ireland boss) and he’s the chief executive but he didn’t have the courtesy to speak to  me.

'Even when I went back playing for Ireland it was the same. He walked past me in a hotel corridor.

'And this man’s on the television talking about the integrity and honesty of  the game, and what football’s all about.'

'What goes around comes around. I’m a great believer in that.'


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