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Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK

Keane v McCarthy: blow-by-blow

A chronology of who said what, and when, in the ongoing row between Roy Keane and Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy.


Tuesday, 21 May

Keane confronts Republic of Ireland goalkeeping coach Packie Bonner and goalkeeper Alan Kelly to dispute the fact that the three goalkeepers in the squad - Kelly, Shay Given and Dean Kiely - were excused from the five-a-side practice matches.

Bonner dismisses the bust-up as "less trouble than he has getting his son to do his homework".

After returning to the team hotel Keane tells manager Mick McCarthy he wants to go home. He cites 'personal reasons' and concerns over his troublesome knee as the reasons.

McCarthy tries unsuccessfully to persuade him to change his mind, and asks Celtic midfielder Colin Healy to fly out to Japan as Keane's replacement.


Wednesday, 22 May

Keane speaks with various people back home overnight - including Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson - and has a change of heart. He tells McCarthy he has decided to stay after all.

McCarthy has to call Healy again and break the bad news to him. However, he invites the young midfielder to join the squad anyway.

McCarthy calls a squad meeting and clarifies the situation to all his players.

Keane and his Republic colleagues go for their morning training session and all is well again in the Irish camp.


Thursday, 23 May

In a lengthy interview with the Irish Times, Keane openly criticises the Republic's World Cup preparations. Soon after, he announces his intention to quit international football after the World Cup.

McCarthy holds clear-the-air talks with Keane and the rest of the squad but that meeting quickly descends into a "slanging match".

McCarthy calls a press conference to announce Keane has been sent home. "I cannot and will not tolerate being spoken to with that level of abuse being thrown at me so I sent him home."


Friday, 24 May

Manchester United charter a private jet to fly Keane home.

Before leaving, Keane says: "I feel great and have a clear conscience. I am happy to be going home. I have no regrets. There are more important things to worry about."


Saturday, 25 May

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) backs McCarthy's stance, with chief executive Brendan Menton saying: "I am absolutely happy with Mick's decision - I think it is the correct decision."

Keane arrives back home in Manchester.


Sunday, 26 May

A defiant Keane speaks out in The Mail on Sunday, claiming there was no way he could be persuaded to rejoin the Republic of Ireland squad.

"I don't feel an ounce of guilt about my part in what has happened. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I don't think I should be apologising. If anything, I believe the apologies are for others to apologise to me."

He is also supported by Ferguson.

McCarthy hits back with a blast of his own, describing Keane's attitude in his tirade against him as "obnoxious, degrading to me and downright rude".

"I have never witnessed such an attack from any human being. It was vicious and it was unjust," he said.


Monday, 27 May

In another interview with an English newspaper, Keane admits McCarthy was right to send him home but sticks to his guns.

"I don't regret what I said, but at the same time I agree Mick had to send me home. A player cannot speak to a manager like that and continue to work under him. Of that charge, I am guilty," he said.

However, later in the day he backtracks slightly in a TV interview, claiming "there maybe is a way" he could still play in the World Cup - though he refuses to publicly apologise for his outburst.

Asked if he would meet halfway people who may want to find a solution for the good of the country, Keane said: "I want to play for Ireland - we will have to see. Probably yes. Maybe there is a way, who knows?

"The World Cup is the most important thing in my life, it really is. Nobody wants to play for Ireland as much as me."


Tuesday, 28 May

McCarthy seems to offer an olive branch to Keane when he says an apology from the midfielder could pave the way to a reconciliation.

But the door appears to be closed when the remaining 22 players release a statement.

"The manner of Roy's behaviour prior to his departure from Saipan and the comments attributed to him since have left the staff and players in no doubt that the interests of the squad are best served without Roy's presence," is the message from the Republic camp.

Irish striker Niall Quinn says Keane would have been back in the squad if he had apologised.

McCarthy holds a press conference and offers Keane a way back.

"If an apology is made I will sit down and discuss it with the players and staff who were in that room and watched me being told I couldn't coach or manage.

"If the players wanted him back I would back them."

But Keane brings an end to any chances of him appearing in the finals by releasing a statement to Irish state broadcaster RTE.

"I do not consider that the best interests of Irish football will be served by my returning to the World Cup," he said. "The damage has been done."


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