By Mark Jones
Republic of Ireland soccer captain Roy Keane is almost certain to miss the crucial Euro 2000 championship qualifier against Macedonia in Skopje a week from Saturday.
Keane has been included in the Irish squad, but Manchester United’s manager,
Alex Ferguson, has insisted that the star midfielder be given at least a week’s rest because of a troublesome knee injury.
The players was expected to have a minor operation for the injury that has
dogged him in recent weeks. However, medical opinion diagnosed rest rather
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Ferguson confirmed that Keane would miss Manchester’s European Champions
League game against Marseille today as well as the English Premiership game
against Chelsea on Sunday.
News of his captain’s injury comes as a major blow to McCarthy, who has to
win in Macedonia to keep the Republic’s hopes alive of qualifying for next
year’s Euro finals.
Down take minor title
Down belied their underdog tag when they won the All Ireland minor football
title with a 1-14 to 0-14 victory over Mayo. Midfielder, Brendan Coulter, got behind the defense to score the game’s all-important goal during the first half.
Meanwhile, Finbarr Cullen guided Edenderry to success in the Offaly county football final replay as the holders Rhode were defeated by 2-9 to 0-13. The Galway title went to Killererin who were 1-12 to 1-8 winners over an Chreathru Rua at Tuam Stadium.
Offaly hurling was thrown into turmoil last week when county manager Michael Bond announced he was stepping down. Bond, who masterminded Offaly’s All Ireland success last season, said he could no longer devote the required time to the job.
Kilkenny’s all-star hurler P.J. Delaney, who received life-threatening head
injuries during a vicious assault recently, has been taken off the critical
list at Cork University Hospital.
Delaney was struck on the head outside a hotel in Thurles, Co. Tipperary,
and later underwent surgery for a fractured skull. The 26-year-old hurler’s
mother, Eileen, said her son has opened his eyes and recognized his family.
He was able to make slight movements with his legs in the hospital’s
intensive care unit.
The Gardai arrested seven people in connection with assault, but the seven,
five men and two women, were later released without charge.