By Mark Jones
DUBLIN — Republic of Ireland and Manchester United captain, Roy Keane, was controversially snubbed by his fellow English professional soccer players when he was left out of the end-of-season Premiership XI.
Similar to an All Star selection, the Premiership XI is chosen by the players themselves and usually includes the biggest names in the English game. But despite inspiring Manchester United to the brink of an historic treble of Premiership, FA Cup and European Cup, Keane was overlooked as Arsenal’s Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit filled the two midfield places.
The absence of the Cork born international from the team was all the more surprising given that, unlike Vieira, he had also been short-listed for the Player of the Year award. The award went to David Ginola of Spurs, with Manchester’s Dwight Yorke the runner-up.
In an Irish context, there was better news for Denis Irwin, whose consistency at left-back saw him win a place on the team, while Sunderland’s Niall Quinn was named in the First Division elite side.
Keane, who was booked in United’s highly impressive European Cup semifinal win over Juventus in Turin, will now miss the decider against Bayern Munich due to suspension and he is also unavailable for Ireland’s friendly game against Sweden at Lansdowne Road today.
Follow us on social media
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo
With Ireland’s two European Championship qualifying games against Yugoslavia and Macedonia still scheduled for June despite the current conflict in the Balkans, the match against Sweden is important preparation for manager Mick
McCarthy. However, he will have to do without both Keane and Irwin, who have a busy end to the season with their high-flying club.
Meanwhile, victories last weekend by reigning champions St. Patrick’s Athletic and Cork City ensured that Irish soccer’s Premier Division title will go down to the last series of games.
St. Pat’s ground out a 1-0 success against Shamrock Rovers and, armed with a 3-point lead over Cork, they know that a draw against Bray Wanderers on Sunday will be enough to reclaim the title.
However, if Pat’s lose and Cork defeat Shamrock Rovers at home, then Cork will be crowned champions.