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Roy Keane and Being Away From Home
Throughout Keane's autobiography the Manchester United captain repeatedly expresses a longing to be in Cork. The importance of Cork to Roy Keane is discussed elsewhere. Cork was where his home was and where his family was - in the suburb of Mayfield. He constantly refers to his family and friends from Cork as the only people that he could trust. These were the people and Cork was the place where he felt most at ease, most comfortable.
Since Roy Keane got married and has had children there is a sense that his Manchester home has gradually replaced Cork in Keane's sense of home. (At the time of writing Keane had just moved to Ipswich.) However it will probably never supplant Cork as his spiritual home. In terms of where he feels comfortable, and feels safe being with his wife and children is his comfort zone. Roy Keane simply does not like being out of his comfort zone.
Keane Away from Home for First Time
In 1989 after he joined Cobh Ramblers Keane was sent on an FAI FAS soccer course in Palmerstown in Dublin. It involved the eighteen year old staying in digs in Leixlip from Monday to Friday. "Leaving home was a wrench, even thought I wasn't going to the moon...the presence of Len Downey [his friend from Cork] made me feel a lot more secure than might otherwise have been the case...I was quite lonely. I missed my family." [Page 15-16].
Keane Away in Nottingham
Even though Keane said that he loved Nottingham - it reminded him of Cork - "...I occasionally yearned for Mayfield and my family."[Page 36]. According to his autobiography his manager at the time, Brian Clough, indulged the young Roy Keane by frequently letting him go home to Cork between soccer matches.
Keane supplemented this by creating a mini-Cork bubble for himself in Nottingham by regularly paying for his family and friends to come over to Nottingham. After his first season at Forest he spent the entire six week Summer break in Cork.
Keane's First Major Away Trip with the Irish Soccer Squad
In 1992 Roy Keane travelled with the Republic of Ireland soccer squad to compete in the US Cup. For Keane the tournament was almost a non-event in many ways. He only played in one match - a 3-1 defeat to the USA. Irish captain Mick McCarthy scored Ireland's goal. It was only the second, and last, match that Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy played together. Keane wondered "...what the hell am I doing here."[Page 60]. The trip ended up with the now infamous Boston 1992 row between Keane and McCarthy. All in all it was a trip that the young Roy Keane did not enjoy.
Keane's First World Cup Finals Experience
Roy Keane's next away trip for an international tournament was also to the USA for the 1994 World Cup Finals. In his autobiography Keane makes it clear he was far from impressed with the Irish set up and preparation under Jack Charlton. He was angry when he was trotted out at a press conference by Charlton to confirm that there were no problems between him (Keane) and coach Maurice Setters. Keane claims in his book that there was a row but that it was between Setters and Irish captain Andy Townsend. After a great win over Italy, results went downhill and the Irish were eliminated in an anticlimactic match against Holland.
Following the match against the Dutch, in Florida, Keane was selected for a random dope test. It took him two hours to produce a urine sample because he was dehydrated. He said that he longed to get home to see Theresa, now his wife, and their new baby. "Please god give me an injection and let me wake up in Cork."[Page 127].
An interesting aside is that Keane complained that the Irish squad left without him when he was giving his urine sample and he had to hitch a lift back to the hotel. Perhaps Jack Charlton remembered back to Boston 1992 when he took Keane to task for keeping the entire squad waiting. Keane's response was "I didn't ask you to wait."[Page 61].
The results, the heat, Charlton's style of play, the dope test, being away from home all contributed to Keane's sense of disappointment. "A tournament I'd looked forward to playing in, dreamed of since I was a kid, had been a bloody nightmare."[Pages 118-127].
Roy Keane's perception of his first two major away trips with the Irish soccer squad was very negative and clearly jaundiced his view of his future involvement with the Republic of Ireland. During his Irish international career under Mick McCarthy, Keane only played one friendly per year on average. With the exception of one match, he never played in any away Republic of Ireland international friendly matches. The exception was an away friendly in Cardiff against Wales in 1997. He did not travel when Ireland took part in the US Cup in 1996 nor in 2000.
In total Keane played in 29, less than half, of the matches that the Republic of Ireland played while McCarthy was Irish manager. Of these only 11 were away matches. For most Irish international matches, home and away, Keane tended to turn up a day or two late to minimise his time away from his family, or perhaps to minimise his time with the Irish squad, or maybe both.
Keane is extremely uncomfortable when he is away from his home and family. His poor view of the Republic of Ireland set up and his disdain for the Irish manager Mick McCarthy made away trips with the Irish almost intolerable for Keane. The idea of a month away from his family in the Far East with the Irish football squad for the 2002 World Cup Finals must have been totally unbearable for Roy Keane.
NOTE: Unless stated otherwise all quotations are from:
Triggs - The Autobiography of Roy Keane's Dog
Ireland at 2002 World Cup Finals - Irish 2002 World Cup Squad - Irish Group Matches
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