By Mark Jones
DUBLIN — The chances of peace breaking out between Roy Keane and Ireland soccer manager Mick McCarthy appear even more remote following comments from both the player and the Football Association of Ireland last week.
In an interview with the Manchester United TV channel, Keane had said he would like to play for his country again, but only if McCarthy is deposed as manager. While there was no reaction from McCarthy, who has signed a contract which lasts until 2004, an FAI source said that Keane’s comments had effectively put an end to the issue.
“Roy’s interview is a defining moment; this is likely to be the end of it,” the source said. “If he said he won’t play again for Mick, that’s practically the same as saying he won’t play for Ireland. Surely he knows that himself.”
Keane added that the reception he received when he played for Manchester United in a preseason friendly in Dublin had convinced him that he would be welcomed back in the green jersey of Ireland.
“I know there were a lot of Manchester United supporters there, but in general the Irish fans have given me a lot of support,” he said.
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Keane was sent home by McCarthy during Ireland’s pre World Cup training camp in Saipan following a sensational dispute between captain and manager over training facilities.