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Friday, 24 May, 2002, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Nation divided over Keane
Republic of Ireland captain Roy Keane home alone at Saipan airport
Roy Keane's departure dominates the news

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The Dublin public have mixed feelings over the fall from grace of Republic of Ireland skipper Roy Keane.

It is now a divided nation as Keane's World Cup departure hits the headlines with stars and the ordindary football fan airing their views.

Keane has held cult status in Dublin and in his home city of Cork.

But he is now suffering the wrath of many as they vent their views in newspapers up and down the country.

Advertising posters have been vandalised with a giant soft drinks poster in Dublin having had Keane's face carefully cut out.

Walls have been daubed with slogans, some in support, others less so.

In the main, though, the general public are stunned at events.

At one building site in Clifden, Co Galway, in support of Keane, a group of 25 construction works downed tools and walked out of their jobs in protest.

But one irate female punter from Galway said that the timing of Keane's outburst and departure was very wrong.

''He maybe meant well, but his timing was completely wrong.''

Keane fan John Lyne, who has named his pub in the Kerry the Stretford End in honour of Manchester United, backs his hero.

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He should have shut his mouth and stayed
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Publican Eddie Manning

''He is the captain of the team, and these difficulties have been going on for some time,'' he said.

''It's a pity they have come to a head now.''

Another Keane fan, Sean Adams, was not backing the Manchester United captain, however.

''He should have stayed with them no matter what was going on,'' he said.

''He has let Ireland down.''

Even the Miss Ireland beauty queen Catrina Supple had her say.

''He showed a lack of respect and his behaviour was embarrassing for not only Mick McCarthy, but also the team and Ireland,'' she said.

Roy Keane on his way home from Saipan
Keane has caused turmoil back home

''He put McCarthy in an unenviable position and put him in a bad light with the other players.''

Even pop star Nicky Byrne of Westlife offererd his subjective view on Keane saga.

''Roy Keane's principles are probably right,'' he said.

''He's the captain and he has a right to air his feeling if he feels conditions are affecting his team.

''He's the kind of guy who wears his heart on his sleeve and gives everything to the game.

''But at the same time, there is only so much a manager can take.

''To send him home is a very, very, brave decision and one that Mick McCarthy didn't take lightly.

"It is a sad day for Irish football and a huge loss to the team and indeed all of us.''

But down in Mayfield, the Cork suburb where Keane spent his formative years, there was nothing but support for the player.

''Keane should be given the benefit of the doubt,'' said Andrew Corkery.

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I just feel Roy's the scapegoat here
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Paul McGrath

''I think he is right in what he is saying about the facilities, but wrong in what he has done,'' he said.

''Obviously Mick McCarthy didn't handle it very well.

''Paul McGrath was a difficult player, but Jack Charlton was able to deal with him.''

Keane, though, received the backing of Paul McGrath who accused international manager Mick McCarthy of treating his captain unfairly.

"If he gets knocked out in the first round, it's Roy's fault.

"If he gets through the first round, he's the hero. If he gets past the next stage, he's the hero,'' said McGrath.

"I just feel Roy's the scapegoat here."


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