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Is Roy Keane worth the hassle for Ireland?

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Keane making too many headlines for his own good
Keane making too many headlines for his own good

Another week, another Roy Keane controversy and this one has some legs as the countdown is now underway to his trial over a road rage incident in Manchester earlier this year.

Keane's confrontation with taxi driver Fateh Kerar may have been downplayed a minor incident by those close to the Republic of Ireland assistant boss, but a Manchester court has seen it fit to set a trial date of June 19th to resolve the matter.

That will ensure that the build-up to the Republic of Ireland's high-profile friendly international against England on June 7th and the crucial Euro 2016 qualifier with Scotland on June 13th, six days before the court date, will be dominated by questions about Keano and his latest off-field calamity.

Manager O'Neill could be wondering if the circus Keane seems to have become is helping his team's cause, as this is hardly the first time his sidekick has stolen the headlines in unwanted fashion ahead of a big game.

O'Neill/Keane 'dream team' have only taken charge of 14 international matches in Ireland colours, yet already the second member of the duo has succeeded in being the star of the show far too often.

THE FIRST PRESS CONFERENCE - O'Neill was chosen to be Republic of Ireland manager, but Keano's press briefings tend to create more media interest, with his first appearance after taking the job shown live on TV by broadcasters.

LINKS WITH CELTIC - Keane appeared to be on the brink of taking over as Celtic manager last summer, with O'Neill and the Ireland players bombarded with questions about the subject in the build-up to a trip to America.

THE BOOK LAUNCH - Keane and his publishers chose to release his highly anticipated second book just two days before Ireland played a Euro 2016 qualifier against Gibraltar. It ensured the build-up to that match was dominated by an assistant whose role should merely be to support the man in charge.

THE BEARD - Okay, this was trivial, but there was so much talk around Keane's overflowing beard in the days leading up to Ireland's Euro 2016 qualifier with Gibraltar that his decision to get rid of it hours before the match was deemed to be breaking news on the FAI Twitter feed.

THE HOTEL ROW - Frank Gillespie got on the wrong side of Keano as he asked for an autograph at the Ireland team hotel in the build up to the Euro 2016 qualifier with Scotland back in November. Martin O'Neill was forced to go public to stress he still supported his assistant.

THE TAXI DRIVER - This latest incident with taxi driver Fateh Kerar in January may be the most threatening yet to Keane's continuing tenure as Republic of Ireland boss. O'Neill may soon have to decide whether he needs this huge presence in his camp if he is a figure destined to cause so many distractions.