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Saturday, 25 May, 2002, 07:42 GMT 08:42 UK
Keane arrives home
Keane arrived back looking fresh
Keane arrived back looking fresh
Roy Keane has arrived back in England after being axed from the Republic of Ireland's World Cup squad.

Keane touched down at Heathrow airport before making his way to his home in Hale, Cheshire.

He made no comment to reporters who had gathered outside his mansion.

Almost at the same time as Keane was arriving home, the Football Association of Ireland was insisting there was no way back for the ex-captain into the World Cup squad.

Brendan Menton, chief executive of the FAI, arrived in Japan on Friday night hoping there might still be a chance for a reconciliation between Mick McCarthy and Keane.

But after meeting with McCarthy early on Saturday, Menton accepted there could be no way back for Keane and gave the FAI's full backing to their manager.

Open Quote
It's good to be going home
Close Quote
Roy Keane

"I am absolutely happy with Mick's decision - I think it is the correct decision.

"I know there was speculation that I was travelling here in the hope this might be re-opened, but it won't be, and that is the message I want to give," added Menton.

Keane was sent home after a heated exchange with manager Mick McCarthy about comments the Republic captain made regarding the squad's World Cup preparations.

McCarthy said he could not "tolerate being spoken to with that level of abuse".

But Keane remained unrepentant and declared before flying home: "I feel very good and have a clear conscience.

United arrange travel

"I am happy to be going home to see my family - it's good to be going home."

Asked whether he had any regrets about leaving the Republic's World Cup campaign, Keane replied: "No regrets.

"There are more important things to worry about."

Keane's travel back to England was arranged by his club Manchester United.

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) offered to make the arrangements but Keane turned down the FAI's offer.

Republic of Ireland captain Roy Keane flew back to England from Saipan airport
Keane flew back from Saipan airport

The rest of the Republic's squad are in Japan.

Keane had originally pulled out of the squad on Tuesday.

But he had a change of heart after speaking to his family and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Open Quote
As long as I am in charge of the Ireland team Roy will not play for us
Close Quote
Mick McCarthy

Then, when the manager and players got together on Thursday Keane renewed his attack on McCarthy and the manager responded by sending home his star player, with any U-turn categorically ruled out.

"I took Roy Keane back once this week," McCarthy told the London Evening Standard newspaper.

"I will not take him back a second time. As long as I am in charge of the Ireland team he will not play for us.

"After what he said to me the other night, I could not tolerate his return to the squad."

Steve Staunton will now take over as captain of the Ireland side for the World Cup.

The Irish completed their build up to the competition with a 2-1 win against J-League side Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, Fifa has turned down Ireland's request to be allowed to call in a replacement for Roy Keane.

A meeting of Fifa's World Cup committee in Japan on Saturday ruled out any replacement for Keane.

Ireland will make a further appeal at a meeting with Fifa officials on Monday but the Irish seem likely to have to make do with only 22 players.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC's Stephen Watson
"Keane has no regrets"
Roy Keane
"I have a clear conscience"
Republic boss Mick McCarthy
"Now we move on - it's history"
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GROUP E
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GERMANY 3 +10 7
IRELAND 3 +3 5
CAMEROON 3 -1 4
SAUDI ARABIA 3 -12 0

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