Keane savages Irish reaction to Spanish humbling
Former Ireland captain Roy Keane launched a furious broadside at his compatriots reaction to their 4-0 loss to defending champions Spain which saw them become the first team to exit Euro 2012.
The 40-year-old — whose popularity in his homeland has never recovered since he infamously walked out of the Irish training camp before the 2002 World Cup finals — was furious when he listened to midfielder Keith Andrews post match interview.
Andrews praised the Irish fans, who had despite the heavy defeat stayed to the end drowning out the Spanish supporters in the stadium with their moving rendition of the ’Fields of Athenry’.
However, despite Andrews also saying that the team had contributed to its own defeat and had been chasing ’shadows’ Keane, who is working as a pundit for English channel ITV, pounced on the remarks made about the fans.
“I think the players and supporters have to change their mentality,” said Keane.
“It’s just nonsense to say how great the supporters are. The supporters want to see the players do a lot better and not give daft goals away like that.
“Let’s change that attitude towards Irish supporters. Let’s not kid ourselves, they want to see their team winning. We’re a small country, let’s not just go along for the sing-song now and again.” Keane, whose stunned team-mates at the 2002 World Cup picked themselves up and against the odds without their one world class player reached the second round where they went out on penalties to Spain, said the players had had a brutal reality check too.
“It was a wake-up call for these players. The goals they gave away tonight.” Keane’s blunt comments didn’t chime with the prevailing mood as even the French TV commentary team stopped commentating on the game - instructed to do so by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger acting as their pundit for the game — so the viewers could listen to the singing.
It also left a lasting impression on FAI chief John Delaney.
“The abiding memory we will take away from this match will be the many thousands of Irish fans singing the Fields of Athenry right up to and beyond the final whistle.” Ireland’s coach from the 2002 World Cup finals Mick McCarthy, who bore the brunt of Keane’s foul mouthed outburst during a team meeting prior to his walking out in 2002, said he expected the veterans from those finals Robbie Keane (no relation to Roy), Shay Given and Damien Duff to react positively to the hammering.
Duff is due to win his 100th cap in the final game against Italy and join Given and Keane in that celebrated club and McCarthy believes they will want to bow out of probably their last finals with a bang on Monday.
“They won’t want to retire on the back of that performance, that’s for sure,” he said.
“I would be worried if I was Italy, because Ireland are going into the last game with nothing to play for except pride. So we’ve got nothing to worry about.”