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Wednesday, 22 May, 2002, 16:09 GMT 17:09 UK
McCarthy dismisses Keane row
Republic of Ireland captain Roy Keane (right) has a row with goalkeeping coach Packie Bonner
Keane was said to have had words with Bonner
Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has insisted the Roy Keane bombshell will not affect the rest of his squad's preparation for the World Cup finals.

Republic skipper Keane sent shockwaves through the Irish camp when he told McCarthy he wanted to go home, citing personal problems and worries about his troublesome knee as the reasons.

But Keane is believed to have initially walked out on the squad following an alleged row with goalkeeping coach Pat Bonner.

Open Quote
Roy trained and is absolutely fine - he has had a change of heart and I am delighted
Close Quote
Mick McCarthy

Keane was reportedly angry because Bonner stopped the Republic's three goalkeepers - Shay Given, Dean Kiely and Alan Kelly - from taking part in five-a-side practice matches.

McCarthy was even forced telephoned Celtic midfielder Colin Healy to tell him he would replace Keane ahead of Fifa's squad deadline on Tuesday.

However, the Manchester United midfielder had a change of heart and was back in training on Wednesday.

"Team morale is brilliant, there are no worries about that," said McCarthy.

"The lads are the best bunch you will ever meet and they will get on with it.

"Whatever happens they will put the best side out at all times, they are brilliant. They came back from training today (Wednesday) and all gathered round Roy - they are all together.

"Roy trained and is absolutely fine. He has had a change of heart and I am delighted.

Republic manager Mick McCarthy
McCarthy knows Keane's value to the team

"He should be playing in the World Cup because he is one of the best players in the world.

"Roy plays for one of the biggest clubs in the world week in, week out and I have no worries about him.

"This is one of those things and it comes with the territory. I'd like to have had a lovely restful week and not had this to deal with, but we'll get on with it."

McCarthy denied the situation had anything to do with an apparent bust-up with Bonner.

"There is some suggestion this is all to do with a bust-up at training, but that is way off the mark," said McCarthy.

"There were suggestions he had a scuffle in training, and I wasn't even aware of that. Packie (Bonner) has bigger arguments with his lad over his homework.

"We had a number of discussions, but then he spoke to other people back at home and that resolved whatever problems there were.

"I know he is worried about his knee, he has treatment on it all the time. That is an ongoing thing and it will be."


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Ireland boss Mick McCarthy
"I didn't know of any tussle in training"
BBC Sport's Andy Swiss
"Keane has a notoriously volatile temperament"
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SAUDI ARABIA 3 -12 0

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