By Mark Jones
DUBLIN — Speculation about multi-million-pound transfer offers for Republic of Ireland teenage soccer star Robbie Keane have been laughed off by the player’s English club, Wolves.
Talk of £5 million bids from reigning English Premiership champions Arsenal and Middlesbrough were firmly rejected by Wolves manager Colin Lee.
"Any mention of £5 million is a joke," Lee said. "That wouldn’t even buy one of his arms and it’s his feet which are supposed to be valuable.
"The stories are rubbish. No other club has phoned me about Robbie. He will mature into a world-class player and he has character to go with his skill and ability."
Meanwhile, there was further controversy surrounding Keane when Lee said he wasn’t prepared to make the player available for the World Under 20 championships in Nigeria in April. Similar indications have come from Blackburn regarding Damien Duff and from Leeds United regarding Stephen McPhail.
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However, the FAI is insisting that under FIFA rules, the players must be made available for Brian Kerr’s squad.
Cork City frustrated
Cork City’s National League title hopes took a severe blow at Turner’s Cross last weekend when they were beaten, 2-1, by St. Patrick’s Athletic. The victory moved champions St. Pat’s two points clear at the top of the table.
Having dominated the first half — Cork hit the woodwork twice before Pat Morley gave them the lead — the home team lost their way after the interval.
Leon Braithwaite and Stephen McGuinness scored for Pat’s, whose manager, Liam Buckley, admitted that a draw would have been a fairer result.
With Shamrock Rovers in third place 16 points off the pace following a 1-1 draw with Sligo Rovers, the League is now a two-horse race between St. Pat’s and Cork.
Andrews takes over Cavan
Dubliner Val Andrews is the new Cavan football manager in succession to Liam Austin. Attached to the Ballymun Kickhams club in Dublin, Andrews was the shock nomination following Austin’s controversial resignation.
His reputation has been built on recent success with a strong Tralee IT team, which won back-to-back Sigerson Cups in 1997 and ’98 and he now has the unenviable task of restoring morale to the Cavan squad.
Austin quit after the combination of a players’ revolt and a bitter difference of opinion with County Board chairman, Brendan Keaney, made his position untenable.
Offaly’s run ends
Offaly’s attempt to win three O’Byrne Cups in a row surprisingly came unstuck in Mullingar last weekend when Westmeath ended their run at the quarterfinal stage.
It finished 1-8 to 0-6, with Westmeath taking the honors thanks to a late goal from teenage corner forward Dessie Dolan.
In the other quarterfinal played, Louth got the better of Longford at Dromard by 1-10 to 1-7.
Mayo defeated All Ireland champions Galway, 2-9 to 0-10, in a Connacht League game on a sodden Clonbur surface, and Paul Taylor guided Sligo to a 1-12 to 0-13 success over Leitrim. The accurate Taylor finished with an impressive personal total of 1-8.
Clare, meanwhile, strolled to an easy 1-8 to 0-3 victory over Waterford in the McGrath Cup, while Limerick pulled off a surprise 1-6 to 0-5 triumph against Kerry.
In the Oireachtas Hurling championship, Francis Forde inspired Galway to a 1-10 to 0-8 success over Limerick.