With Mick McCarthy back in the Ireland job, the saga that was Saipan in 2002 was bound to be dredged up in one function or another.
As is happens, McCarthy delved into one of the most tumultuous times in Irish football on Paddy Power’s Head2 Head programme, which airs tonight on eir Sport 1 at 10pm.
The show is hosted by Eamon Dunphy, who probed into McCarthy's feelings about Keane and his acrimonious exit from the squad.
The question was put to him by Dunphy that Ireland would have possibly made the semi-finals of the World Cup with Keane in the squad, but interestingly the former Ipswich Town coach claimed that Ireland would not have escaped the group stages with Keane in mental state he was in in South Korea:
If we’d have had him in the frame of mind and mood he was in when we played against Holland and Portugal [in the qualifiers], yeah I agree with that.
Having had him in the frame of mind and mood he was in at the World Cup we wouldn’t have got out of the group. No chance.
We just agreed to disagree on that subject and continued our personal, cordial relationship on everything else.
Pretty shite to be quite honest. I got on fine with him, I mean there was some suggestion from him that I couldn’t manage teams or manager players, but I’d managed him for five years.
I fucking spun his plate and kept him going. You know, ‘Roy, don’t come in on a Monday, you’ve played Saturday, you come in Tuesday and train with the lads, we’ll play on Wednesday and we’ll go on.’
The full 23 minute interview will air on eir Sport 1 at 10pm tonight, where McCarthy will give his full thoughts on the incident which ultimately led to him losing his job as Ireland coach.