Keane savages 'mentally weak' Ireland players

Roy Keane yesterday launched a savage attack on the Republic of Ireland players and the Irish football establishment for their complaints about Thierry Henry's handball and told them they were just sympathy-seeking, "mentally weak" hypocrites who should "get over it".

Even by Keane's standards it was an extraordinary rant which laid waste to a number of the former Ireland captain's enemies including the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) chief executive John Delaney, and the team-mates that he believed betrayed him at the 2002 World Cup finals.

Although Keane returned to play for the Ireland team two years after his walkout from the World Cup training base in Saipan in 2002, he has clearly never forgiven Delaney. Now Ipswich Town manager, his implied attack on the likes of Robbie Keane, Shay Given and Damien Duff – all relatively junior players in 2002 – underlined his utter contempt for Irish football.

Ahead of Ipswich's game against Sheffield Wednesday today Keane said that his former team-mates only had themselves to blame. "Ireland had chances at Croke Park and in Paris but didn't take them," he said. "France were there for the taking but Ireland never grabbed it – as usual.

"They were afraid of that next step and were mentally not strong enough. They can complain all they want. That is not going to change anything. France are going to the World Cup – get over it. They want sympathy as usual. It is the usual carry on and it is boring."

The Irish have not made it to a major tournament since 2002 when Keane walked out because of what he described as Ireland's "Third World" approach to their training camp and preparations.

Keane also accused the Irish of hypocrisy for winning a dubious penalty given for handball against Ucha Lobjanidze in their win over Georgia in February. He said: "It is the usual FAI reaction – 'we've been robbed', 'the honesty of the game' but there was one of the group matches [Georgia] when Ireland got a penalty for a handball and no one had appealed for it.

"It was one of the worst decisions I have ever seen and it changed the game and the group. Robbie Keane scored the penalty and Ireland went on to win but I don't remember the FAI saying 'You know what? The referee made a howler, let's give them a replay.' It is the same principle.

"It [Henry's handball to set up William Gallas's decisive goal] was instinct for Henry. Would I call him a cheat? No I wouldn't think so. Did he bend the rule a little? Maybe. You see cheating going on all the time. Nobody wants a cheat. I wouldn't agree that Henry is a cheat. He is a top, top player who took advantage of the situation.

"I don't feel the game has been damaged one bit. Ireland had the chances. They never took the chance in the first game. They never performed. I heard an interview after the first game when the manager said none of the players got booked – maybe that was the problem, maybe the players should have got booked because they stood off France. In the second game we had opportunities and didn't take them."

Keane saved his harshest words for Delaney who he accused of lying about not knowing of his own whereabouts in a press conference during the Saipan crisis seven years ago. "He talks about the honesty and integrity of the game but I would not take any notice of that man," Keane said. "People forget what went on in the World Cup in 2002 and that man talks about honesty. I have been involved with Ireland since I was 15 years but he didn't have the decency to even make a phone call – and he goes on about the honesty of the game."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London