‘It’s like Roy Keane’s Ireland… it’s bonkers’: Mick McCarthy opens up on ‘s***e’ relationship with Republic of Ireland assistant manager

Mick McCarthy has opened up about his rocky relationship with Roy Keane and has slammed the Republic of Ireland assistant manger for overshadowing gaffer, Martin O’Neill.

When McCarthy himself was Ireland manager, he infamously sent Keane home from international duty ahead of the World Cup after the two had a scathing row in Saipan which resulted in Keane unleashing a 10-minute tirade at his boss.

McCarthy has now revealed that the two of them never had a good relationship, long before tensions finally boiled over during the preparations for the 2002 World Cup.

Mick McCarthy has slammed Roy Keane after his argument with Jon Walters and Harry Arter

Mick McCarthy has slammed Roy Keane after his argument with Jon Walters and Harry Arter


Millwall: 1992-1996

Republic of Ireland: 1996-2002

Sunderland: 2003-2006

Wolves: 2006-2012

Ipswich: 2012-2018

The former manager said his relationship with Keane was ‘pretty s***e’ from the start and spoke of another argument the two had while Mick was still playing: ‘I had a run in with him on the bus coming back from the USA tour. All the lads had been out, not just Roy. We were all waiting for them to come back, they’d only had a beer and were late getting on the bus.

‘I’d had to go and fetch Stan’s passport, I packed his bag and put it on. They all come on and I’m having a dig at them. I’m the captain, I’m the manager of Millwall at the time, so I’m saying ‘the bus is going, we need to go, we’ve a plane to catch’.

‘Then, of course, yours truly gives me a mouthful, so I’ve gone to have a dig at him back. And we had to be split up. I was never intimidated by him. But that was it.’

In Saipan, Keane had been furious that the bootcamp hadn’t resulted in much training for the squad before they flew out to Japan, leaking his frustrations to the Irish press.

McCarthy conceded those claims but says there was a method to his madness: ‘The pitches [in Saipan] weren’t great. It was horrible. The surface was crap, the kit didn’t turn up.

Keane has caused even more disruption in the Ireland squad after a row with Walters and Arter

Keane has caused even more disruption in the Ireland squad after a row with Walters and Arter

‘That was it. I took them to Saipan for a holiday. Seriously. We went there for four days, and I let them off on the p*ss for two nights. If I didn’t let them go on the p*ss there, they would’ve done it in Japan. So I let them have a blowout, before we go, then we’re down to the serious business.

‘We were going to Isamu, and I’d been there and inspected that, they were five star facilities. So all we had to do for four days was go and have a little kickabout on the sh***y pitch, and then we’d go to Japan to prepare.’

Years later and Keane has found him self as part of the management hierarchy for Republic of Ireland and he has caused turmoil again after falling out with Jonathan Walters and Harry Arter, causing the latter to withdraw from the squad.

It didn’t take long for McCarthy to criticise Keane: ‘Me and Roy have had our issues, of course, but I’m not in there with him, I don’t see what’s going on.

‘All I will say is this: he’s the only assistant manager in the whole of the world who gets this much publicity, nobody else. It’s like Roy Keane’s Ireland. It’s bonkers, in my view. It shouldn’t be Martin O’Neill having to mop up anything else that’s going on.’

O’Neill is still hopeful that Arter will return to the squad and patch up things with Keane: ‘As I already mentioned, I think there is every possibility of a reconciliation and I’m just hoping that will materialise.’

He also waiting on Seamus Coleman and Declan Rice back in the squad ahead of their crucial Nations League double header against Denmark and Wales. Coleman has been out with a stress fracture to his foot while Rice is considering switching allegiance to England.

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