Category: Archive

Fans to Keane: if you can play, play

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The reaction in Ireland has been one of disgust with some suggesting a boycott of support for Manchester United.
Keane revealed that his hip problem is far more serious than he expected and he may need a hip replacement at a young age. Indeed, the extent of the injury could have caused Keane to retire from the game itself.
But the lesson is: If you are healthy enough to play, then shut up and play. And that’s what Keano should have done in the 2002 World Cup, instead of walking out. Outside circumstances should not stop you from playing. In Keane’s case in South Korea/Japan, it was his distaste and disrespect for his manager Mick McCarthy. Surely a world-class player like Keane is bigger than that. Besides, why would you let a man you think of as a lesser man determine your destiny? It’s a load of crap really. If you go to a game, whether it be a pick-up game in the park or on the street, or indeed if it’s the World Cup, then you play. Consider yourself lucky in the first place that you got there and, of course, that you are healthy and fit enough to enjoy yourself on the field.
When Keane did walk out, some of the wiser comments suggested he would live to regret his decision. Maybe. Keane is not your typical run-of-the-mill professional; he is very much his own man. And this time, he made it clear that it was his decision and his decision alone to retire. Whether he did indeed make the decision alone is another maybe. Only time will answer these questions.
There is also speculation that Keane has not fully made up his mind regarding his retirement. When will it stop? But there does seem to be some regret when he says things like: “I feel let down; people need to remember the bloody good things when I played for Ireland.” He should have thought of all the bloody good things he could have done for Ireland in the World Cup. Now he can’t do any intense team training just before and after his games. Instead, he sees a specialist.
Keane’s hip has been bothering him for over a year, so all the more reason he should have realized that 2002 was his last chance to show his stuff on the world stage. We are talking about the kind of man here who will take an injection of Voltarol (an anti-inflammatory) to ease pain so he can play the game. He’s even taken injections at halftime. It’s hard to believe now that he let McCarthy get to him. At the end of the day the saga has come down to the simple lesson of, if you are healthy enough to play, then play. Because there will come a day when you have to give it up.
Nevertheless, Keano was in action in the recent 2-0 loss to Arsenal in the F.A. Cup. It was a game he could have done without. Arsene Wenger was smart enough to leave out Dennis Bergkamp in what was expected to be a bloodbath. He also used caution with Thierry Henry, bringing him on with only 17 minutes left to play. The game was indeed ugly and full of ridiculous tackles and is best forgotten. Irish interest faded before the game even started when John O’Shea was left out of United’s starting 11. United look like a better side when O’Shea starts. As for Arsenal, there’s not an ounce of Irish blood in the squad, but Northern Ireland’s Pat Rice continues to show his smiling face on the coaching staff. Why wouldn’t he, the way the Gunners are playing these days.
Sir Alex Ferguson showed his frustration after the game when he kicked a boot at David Beckham who was rushed to hospital for a couple of stitches. While the United Irish are out of the cup, Beckham could be out of Old Trafford.
Gary Kelly’s quick free helped Leeds United beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park in the cup. The Irish veteran curled the ball around the Palace wall and caught the goalkeeper off guard. But it was Harry Kewell’s winner that gave Leeds a ticket into the quarterfinal and a breath of relief for his manager Terry Venables. Leeds desperately needed this result and they may have the motivation to go all the way.
Mark Kennedy had a good game for Wolverhampton Wanderers as the Irish winger unbalanced Rochdale’s defense. Kennedy’s runs and crosses played a key role in Wolves’ 3-1 win, getting them into the final stages. Dennis Irwin was his steady self on the right flank and his passing was second to none in the game. Once again George Ndah got himself on the score sheet, making it number four in cup games for Wolves.
Roy Delap continues to hold his own in Southampton under the influence of manager Gordon Strachan. While Delap has not crossed over into becoming a household name with Irish supportters, he has a great chance to become a steady performer at Saint Mary’s. No one would begrudge Delap and Southampton winning the F.A. Cup. The Saints beat Norwich 2-0, with goals from Anders Svensson and Jo Tessem.
Fulham and Irish full-back Steve Finnan live to fight another cup day after a 1-1 draw with Burnley. Fellow Irishman Alan Moore nipped in ahead of Finnan in the fourth minute to put Burnley in front. Steed Malbranque equalized for Fulham to Finnan’s delight. Luck was not with the Irish at Sunderland when Phil Babb, Kevin Kilbane and Jason McAteer were knocked out of the cup, beaten 1-1 by Watford. Rounding off the F.A. Cup results were a 2-0 win for Chelsea over Stoke and a Sheffield United 2-0 victory over Walsall.
Chances of an outsider winning the cup increased as Chelsea were drawn to travel to Arsenal in the quarters. Leeds are away to Sheffield United, while Southampton has home advantage over Wolves. Watford await the replay between Fulham and Burnley. The games will be played on March 8 and 9 with Irish interest guaranteed to continue into the semi-finals of the cup.

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