Sir, - With so much thoughtless invective being hurled at the two men most responsible for Ireland's passage to the World Cup, it was good to read Tom Humphries's clear-headed analysis in last Saturday's edition.

Plainly there were rights and wrongs on both sides - as with nearly all controversies. Perhaps the greatest wrong, however, is the crassly simplistic expectation that two strong, proud footballing men should be able to operate in an emotional vacuum and should be able to ignore intensely wounded pride, despite the fact that aggression and pride are key elements of the mindset that leads to sporting success.

These men are not trained diplomats, and are in the unhappy position of being thousands of miles away from family and loved ones. Is it not understandable that, in all the circumstances, they would not behave perfectly? For myself, I continue to regard these two men as heroes. I look forward to great success in Japan and Korea for Mick McCarthy, and a place at the head of the list of gifted Irish sportsmen for Roy Keane. - Yours, etc.,



Co Wicklow.

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Sir, - To the committed armchair football fan, Network 2's coverage of so much of the World Cup is a godsend. However, cutting away from the last five minutes of the very entertaining match between Paraguay and South Africa game beggared belief.

The reason? Not a satellite failure or an urgent newsflash, but a commercial break.

And I thought I'd seen it all. - Yours, etc.,


Willbrook Road,


Dublin 14.

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Sir, - The recent soccer debacle is nothing more than old-fashioned pre-performance histrionics by a talented performer. This small storm in a tea-cup would have remained just that were it not for the interference of the media, particularly the publication of the interview with Keane after the first flare-up appeared to have been settled. What an additional shame that an Irish paper was involved. The Irish Times should review its editorial policy urgently and desist from behaving like a tabloid. - Yours, etc.,


Caragh Lake,

Co Kerry.

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Sir, - The negative reaction from part of the RTÉ World Cup panel to Ireland's great performance against Cameroon was in sharp contrast to the British channels' universal reaction of delight. Why do we have pay to put up with the constant begrudgery of success from Ireland's greatest living Cameroon supporter? - Yours, etc.,



Dublin 14.

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Sir, - RTÉ should note well: the next time it produces the begging bowl, we, the licence-payers, will recall that we were paying to listen to Eamonn Dunphy's treachery. - Yours, etc.,


Liberty Lane,

Dublin 8.

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Sir, - Grumpy Dunphy sat on a wall,/ Grumpy Dunphy had a great fall./ All Keane's horses and all Keane's men/ Will never put Dunphy together again. - Yours, etc.,


Newtownpark Avenue,


Co Dublin.