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Irish Sports Desk Keane hints he may leave United

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Sean Creedon

Roy Keane is still locked in a contract deadlock with Manchester United and has admitted that he may be on his way out of the world’s most famous soccer club.

"I can’t imagine leaving, but being a realist I know it may have to happen" said the Republic of Ireland captain.

Keane’s contract expires in January and he has been frustrated at the way the negotiations have dragged on.

"I was a bit annoyed with the first offer put to me and deep down Manchester United knew it was something I couldn’t sign," he said. "I’m not frightened to look elsewhere. A few months ago there was hardly any chance that I would go, but although I have a deep loyalty to the club, my thinking has been altered."

It has been rumored that Keane is seeking a £2 million pounds a

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year deal for the next five years.

Meanwhile, Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Alan Kelly has joined Blackburn Rovers from Sheffield United. The 30-year-old, whose father, Alan Sr., is now coaching in the MLS with DC United of Washington, has signed a four-year deal. Sheffield were keen to offload Kelly, who was on very high wages at Bramall Lane and at first it was thought he would move to Aberdeen in Scotland.

“ To be able to join a club as ambitious as Blackburn is just fantastic for me at this stage of my career,” he said.

Irvine on way out?

Despite Eddie Irvine’s victory in the recent German Grand Prix, rumors that the Irish Formula One driver is about to be dropped by Ferrari have escalated. Even with Irvine now eight points ahead in the championship, some believe he will be replaced by Rubens Barrichello next season.

There have been suggestions that Barrichello has in fact already signed for

Ferrari, and while Irvine has made no secret in the past of his desire to drive for McLaren, they confirmed that both David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen are to remain with the team for 2000.

A move back to Jordan, where he raced from 1993-95, could remain an option for Irvine, but his most likely liasion is with Stewart.

"It’s not something that I’m thinking about right now," said Irvine. "My manager knows what I want and I’m leaving him to get on with it."

Norman course in Clare

An Bord Pleanala last week gave the go ahead to plans to develop a £12 million golf links in Doonbeg, Co.y Clare. The course is being designed by Greg Norman. The scheme includes an 18-hole links course, a 51-bedroom hotel, conference center and 80 holiday homes on a 366-acre site near a special area of conservation. Enviromental groups including An Taisce, the Heritage Council and Friends of the Irish Environment had appealed the Clare County Council’s decision to Bord Pleanala.

Equestrian changes

We will see a new-look Irish team compete for the Agha Khan Trophy in the Nations’ Cup at the Kerrygold Dublin Horse Show on Friday. For the first time in many years there will be no army representation. And Eddie Macken, for long a vital member of the squad, will also be absent.

This year the selectors have gone for two women riders, Jessica Chesney Kurten and Marion Hughes. The other squad members are team captain Trevor Coyle, Edward Doyle and Peter Charles. It’s the first time since 1968 that we have two women on the team. Chef d’Equipe Tommy Wade will select his team of four on Thursday evening, so somebody will be disappointed

Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Italy, France, and the United States will also compete in the Nations’ Cup. Other well known Irish riders such as Eddie Macken, Capt. John Ledingham, Paul Darragh and Francis Connors will compete in individual events at what will be the 126th Dublin Horse Show.

Cork hot favorites

It’s hard to believe that it’s seven years since we have seen a Cork senior hurling team in action at Croke Park. But it’s that long since the Rebels hurlers have graced the headquarters turf. On Sunday, Jimmy Barry Murphy’s young team (average age 22) will be hot favorites to beat Offaly and advance to the final on the second Sunday in September. The counties last met in the championship in the Centenary final in Thurles when Cork were easy winners. Offaly paid a heavy price in their facile quarterfinal win over Antrim when Hubert Rigney and Kevin Martin picked up serious injuries and they may be unfit for Sunday. Cork, who came through a tough Munster championship campaign, should reach the final.

Meanwhile, the GAA have reluctantly decided that the traditional scene of crowds pouring on to Croke Park after big games must end. The move comes following a rise in the number of injures suffered by supporters and subsequent legal action. Surely the end of an era and a sign of the times we live in when everybody in this island of ours is looking for compensation.

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