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Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 20:13 GMT
Fair ye well Roy
Roy Keane turned down appraoch by Brian Kerr
Roy Keane will now concetrate on club football

Roy Keane's feisty international career is no more.

The Manchester United captain has decided to take three-fold advice and refuse new Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr's approach to return to the fold.

After words from his medical advisors and his wife, but most importantly, from Sir Alex Ferguson, Keane has said thanks, but no thanks.

If Keane was in a quandary after a receptive meeting with Kerr, Ferguson's nudge would have been forceful in turning his back on the Republic.

Jazck Charlton gave Keane his debut back in 1991
Jack Charlton gave Keane his international debut
Keane has decided to concentrate on club football and help guide Manchester United towards their goal of four trophies this season.

That alone is a big enough task for someone whose body is not in its first flush of youth.

So ends the long-running saga of Keane and his involvement with a country he served with such alacrity on 58 occasions.

Born in a Cork hamlet back in 1971, Keane began his footballing career with Cobh Ramblers.

However, it was not long before he was whisked away to England by the irrepressible Brian Clough who had a cute eye for talent.

Baptism

So too had Sir Alex, of course, and he won the race to snap up Keane in 1992 for a then English record fee of 3.75m after Forest were relegated.

Jack Charlton was no mug either. The Republic of Ireland and Charlton were, to many, strange bedfellows.

But he made it work, paticularly after Charlton gave Keane his international baptism in May 1991.

Keane was in and out of Charlton's team, but it was he who fired up the Republic side and helped them to reach the knock-out stages of the 1994 World Cup.

New Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr
Republic boss Brian Kerr tried to bring Keane back
But it was the last World Cup where Keane virtually cut the umbilical cord of his international career after a well-documented bust-up with manager Mick McCarthy.

He always had an uneasy peace with McCarthy, but Keane's fuse finally melted in Saipan and he was eventually sent packing.

Previously he had brought the country together.

Now he had divided the land. Some backed him to the hilt, others said that there was no way back.

What was not for argument is that he was the Republic's one real world-class player.

Now they will miss him. The fearless tackles that made the opposition wince. His cajoling, his firebrand midfield play, and his goals.

He scored nine goals for the Republic, but the big goal last year passed him by.

Kerr tried to coax him back, but it was not to be. Now the Republic boss must start with a clean sheet.

No baggage, no egos, no prima donnas, but also no world class players.

Republic of Ireland coach Brian Kerr takes charge of the national team for the first time

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