Football: Keane's injury blow: Midfielder to miss Republic's opener

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ROY KEANE, the Manchester United midfielder, is out of the Republic of Ireland squad for Wednesday's opening European Championship tie with Latvia in Riga. The 22-year-old broke down in training yesterday and will not be considered for a reserve team outing against Blackburn Rovers today because of a thigh injury.

The Irish FA chief executive, Sean Connolly, said: 'Alex Ferguson conveyed the information to us this morning and obviously it is a disappointment. Jack Charlton has no plans to call in a replacement.'

Keane, who has played only 30 minutes of Premiership football this season when coming on as a substitute against his former club, Nottingham Forest, must now be doubtful for United's opening Champions' League tie against Gothenburg on Wednesday week at Old Trafford.

Phil Hardie, the Wrexham full- back, has been called in as a replacement for the injured Andy Turner - currently on loan to Wycombe from Tottenham - for the Uefa European Under-21 match between Latvia and the Republic in Riga on Tuesday.

The Northern Ireland goalkeeper, Tommy Wright, has withdrawn from next Wednesday's European Championship qualifier against Portugal in Belfast. The Nottingham Forest player has not yet recovered from a pre-season ankle injury. Hull City's Alan Fettis is expected to take over.

AEK Athens have been fined pounds 25,000 for violent behaviour by their supporters in the European Cup tie against Rangers. Athens supporters shot fireworks at rival fans and threw objects at Rangers players when the teams met in Athens on 10 August.

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