keane regret | 

RTE legend Tommie Gorman ‘sensed’ Roy Keane wanted to play in World Cup despite Saipan

Tommie gave his opinion on the Late Late Show

Roy Keane

Ciara O'

Former RTÉ journalist Tommie Gorman has revealed that he sensed football legend Roy Keane wanted to continue playing for Ireland in the World Cup in 2002 after his shock exit from the team.

Keane infamously left the Irish team before the World Cup had finished, after he had an argument with then-manager Mick McCarthy. It became known as the Saipan incident.

Mr Gorman bagged the exclusive interview with the footballer at the time and was put under pressure to find out what really happened.

Speaking to Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show on Friday night, the broadcaster said he “desperately wanted a happy ending” to result from the interview.

"I desperately wanted Roy Keane back in an Irish jersey because I knew how good he was and I knew the extra benefits he would bring to the Irish team,” he said.

“It was quite a contest, the interview with him, and I sensed there was a part of him that wanted to go back – and there was a part of Mick McCarthy that wanted him back.

“I read recently that there is a general recognition that it was such a waste on all sides.

“I have watched Roy Keane since and he is box office, he is wonderful, he was a wonderful athlete, he is so special.

“But part of his gift is part of his problem because he is so special he can never pass on those talents as a manager to other players, but I think he is in the perfect place now, on television he is the perfect punter.”

The journalist added that many people may be unaware of how much work the footballer does for sick children.

"Maybe people are aware of, but maybe they're not fully aware of how good he is,” Mr Gorman said.

"Over the years he has done wonderful work for children in particular who are ill, in some cases children who are terminally ill.

"I saw an example with a young lad from Derry. Martin McGuinness rang me once and said, 'can you get this family in to meet Roy Keane?'

"It was a Thursday and they wanted to go to a match on the Saturday at Old Trafford.

"Michael Kennedy was Roy Keane's agent at the time. Gorgeous man. I got into touch with him.

"They went over to Old Trafford. United were playing Southampton.

"After the game, Roy Keane came out to look for the young lad, brought him into the player's lounge, took off his jersey, signed the jersey, and gave it to him."

The young boy sadly died a few months later, but the broadcaster said that the family host an annual walk every year to raise money for cancer and keep his name alive.

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