Football

McCarthy Says Ireland Would Have Performed Worse With Keane At '02 World Cup

McCarthy Says Ireland Would Have Performed Worse With Keane At '02 World Cup

Saipan is the nightmare from which we are refusing to wake, with a couple of the same protagonists still involved with Irish football, albeit in different roles.

Should the O'Neill/Keane managerial partnership sunder at the end of the Nations League which, judging by the mauling in Cardiff, is a live possibility, then the most probable scenario is that we swap one half of the Saipan divide for the other.

Mick McCarthy is currently out of work and is keen to return to management, and it has been notable the extent to which Mick has boosted his media profile in Ireland of note. He has joined Virgin Media as a pundit, and did a full slate of media interviews - including one with us - to promote his new role.

He popped up again last night in an interview with Eamon Dunphy to promote Paddy Power.

Talk inevitably turned to Keane, and his propensity for making headlines. "All I will say is this: he's the only assistant manager in the whole of the world who gets this much publicity, nobody else. TC, my assistant, never got a mention. It's like Roy Keane's Ireland. It's bonkers, in my view. He should be assisting Martin O'Neill. It shouldn't be Martin having to mop up anything else that's going on".

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Eamo inevitably turned to Saipan, and McCarthy revealed he reckoned that Keane's frame of mind ahead of the World Cup would have hindered his team.

Alex [Ferguson] said to me, ‘You would’ve got to the semi-final if Roy had been there’. I said, ‘We wouldn’t have got out of the group, we’d have been coming out after three games’.

If we had had him in the frame of mind and mood that he was when we played against Holland, Portugal and Cyprus, then I agree with that.

But having had him in the frame of mind that Roy appeared to be at the World Cup, we wouldn’t have got out of the group, no chance.

We agreed to disagree on that subject.

In Keane's absence, Ireland drew 1-1 with Cameroon and Germany before beating Saudi Arabia to progress to the last 16, where they lost on penalties to Spain.

See Also: Liam Miller Tribute Match To Be Broadcast On Free-To-Air Channel

Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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