By Sean Creedon
English tabloids claimed at the weekend that Roy Keane had spent three days at the exclusive Priory Clinic in Altrincham. Keane is also supposed to have attended an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at a Quaker Hall near his home on the outskirts of Manchester. However, Keane, who will be 29 on Aug. 10, and his manager, Alex Ferguson, both denied the claim.
"I can only tell you what Roy Keane has told me and that this story is not right," Ferguson said.
Earlier in the week Keane said that he was prepared to stay at Old Trafford for the rest of his playing days. Speaking in Germany where Manchester United took part in the Bayern Munich Centenary tournament, Keane pledged his alliance to the Red Devils.
"I have three years left on my contract, taking me up to 32," Keane said. "I am more than happy to see out my contract. I know that I have in the past said I wouldn’t mind finishing my career at Celtic, but as long as United want me, I’m happy."
When you see the money other players in Europe are earning, United certainly got the Corkman cheaply, but obviously he is happy to continue living near Manchester.
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Quinn signs for 3
Niall Quinn looks like he will end his playing career with Sunderland. The 33-year-old Dubliner last week signed a three-year contract with the Premiership club, which means will continue his partnership with England international Kevin Phillips.
Griffin named selector
Liam Griffin, the man who led Wexford to All-Ireland glory in 1996, is one of the five men charged with the task of finding a new hurling manager for the Yellow Bellies.
Griffin, who has been critical of the County Board this summer, joins another former manager, Rory Kinsella, former under 21 manager John Conran, current under 21 manager Martin Quigley, and top referee Dickie Murphy on the selection committee.
Former Offaly star Joachim Kelly who had the job this year, quit after the Leinster championship lost to Offaly. And it later transpired that Wexford had approached 40 of their own former players before offering the job to Kelly.
Sonia O’Sullivan’s Olympic preparations suffered a serious setback at Crystal Palace in London on Saturday when she could finish only ninth in the Women’s 5,000 meters. The race was won by Ethiopian Ayelch Worku.
O’Sullivan’s coach Alan Storey said that a stomach complaint from earlier the week was the reason for her poor performance.
It’s been 50 years since we’ve have had a draw in the Leinster football final.
But what about the four-game saga between Dublin and Meath in 1991? you may well ask. Amazingly, that was a first-round tie, so, on Saturday, Aug. 12, we will have the first Leinster final replay of the new millennium between Dublin and Kildare.
There is very little between the counties and I wouldn’t be surprised if we had extra time on Saturday. Dublin will definitely be without full-forward Ian Robertson, who was injured his ankle in the opening minutes two weeks ago.
There is no truth in the rumor that Jimmy Keaveny or Charlie Redmond will make a comeback to kick the frees. The task will probably go to Declan Darcy, who should be fit to resume. Darcy will probably start at full-forward or the No. 14 jersey could go to Vinny Murphy, who did well when introduced two weeks ago.
Karl O’Dywer, son of manager Mick should also be back for The Lilywhites, who definitely had the best goal chances last time out. I was very impressed with Kildare, but there is still a question mark over their finishing.
With Meath out, this All-Ireland football title race is still wide open and
either of these teams could go on to win the Sam Maguire Cup.
Bohemians up next
Two out, two to go. That would be one way of reading the Eircom League club’s European record. UCD and Shelbourne are already out, while on Aug. 10 it’s the turn of Bohemians, who travel to Aberdeen and Cork City, who travel to Switzerland to play Lausanne.
Last week, Shelbourne did well to get a 1-1 draw against Rosenborg in Trondheim, but went out of the Champions League 4-2 on aggregate. Earlier, UCD had exited from the Inter Toto Cup at the first hurdle.
Meanwhile, the Eircom League gets under way on Sunday. There has been little movement of players during the summer, with most clubs making do with their current squads. Reigning champions Shelbourne have signed Ian Gilzean from Glentoran, Paul Byrne has joined St. Patrick’s Athletic from Bohemians, while Trevor Molloy has moved in the opposite direction.
Cork City are the only premier division club with a new manager. Former Everton defender Derek Mountfield replaces Colin Murphy.
Giles gets nod
Brian McEniff has announced that Meath’s Trevor Giles will captain the Irish team for the International Rules tests against Australia in October.
"Not only is Trevor a very talented footballer, he’s given me a very big commitment," McEniff said. "He has been to all the sessions and once turned up to a trial on a Friday and then played club championship on a Sunday, when others have cried off the for the same reason."
McEniff also says he believes the mass exodus of Irish players to America over the summer is demeaning the club championships and of course he cannot call on them for his trials.
Niall Buckley, Graham Geraghty and Sean Martin Lockart, who all played in Australia, are currently in the U.S. Brian has also had to plan without the top players from Armagh, Dublin, Galway, Kerry and Kildare as these counties are still in the championship.
Browne for Laois?
Colm Browne is expected to named manager of the Laois senior footballers later this month. It will be his second spell in charge. In the meantime, he had a spell with Tipperary. Browne will replace Tom Cribben, who quit after the Leinster championship defeat by Westmeath.
Meanwhile, Eamonn Coleman has denied reports linking him to the vacant Westmeath job, which has gone to under 21 manager Luke Dempsey. "If I am going anywhere in the future it will be back to Derry and maybe finish off the job we failed to do this year," he said. "The decision about another term as Derry manager is out of my hands, but I’m available if asked," Eamonn said. Coleman had earlier said he was quitting after the Ulster final loss to Armagh.
O Conaire to step down
Breandan O Conaire, who has done a wonderful job as president of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association over the last four years, says he will not be seeking reelection at the association’s AGM in October.
O’Conaire, who has overseen major re-development work at the National Boxing Stadium on Dublin’s South Circular Road, says he is taking a break for family reasons.
FAI split widens
The FAI split on Eircom Park widened last week when Brendan Mention resigned from Centime, the FAI subsidiary body appointed to oversee all aspects of the Park in South Dublin. Mention has been one of the severest critics of the project, but he is not stepping down as treasurer of the FAI.
Rugby players will be asked to speed up their penalty-kicking ritual next season. One of a number of new laws introduced by the International Rugby Board allows referees to award a scrum to the opposition if a place kicker does not attempt to kick within 60 seconds from the moment he tells the referee his intention to go for goal. Other rule changes means that there will be no lineouts within, five meters of the goal line and players must not charge into a ruck or maul without biding onto a teammate.
We now have an almost full picture of the major games on the GAA calendar for August and September. These are the dates and games, all to be played at Croke Park:
€ Aug. 12, Leinster football final replay: Dublin vs. Kildare;
€ Aug. 13, All-Ireland hurling semifinal: Galway vs. Kilkenny;
€ Aug. 20 All-Ireland football semifinal: Armagh vs. Kerry;
€ Aug. 27 All-Ireland football semifinal: Galway vs. Dublin/Kildare;
€ Sept. 10: All-Ireland hurling final;
€ Sept. 24: All-Ireland football final.
Best eyes Ireland
Soccer legend George Best spent a recent weekend in Ireland with his wife, Alex, looking at houses. Best, tanned after a two-week holiday in Spain, arrived at Cork Airport. George and Alex were then driven to Waterford to look at property.
"We are looking to buy in the Waterford area. If we find the right place we’ll stay for good,” said the Belfast-born star.
Best, who had collapsed with a liver problem earlier this year, broke his no-alcohol rule two weeks ago when he was found asleep on a London park bench.
"If I want to have a drink, I’ll have a drink," he said. "Nobody can stop me but myself."