How excited is Roy? 'Very excited – I mightn’t look it, but I am'

Full steam ahead for good ship SS Republic of Ireland

 New  Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill  and his assistant Roy Keane  working last night during the Real Sociedad  and Manchester United match  in San Sebastián. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

New Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill and his assistant Roy Keane working last night during the Real Sociedad and Manchester United match in San Sebastián. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

 

It was a fair old indication of the global interest in the Chosen Two appointed to steer our national football team in the direction of good times that, by yesterday evening, if you typed “O’Neill, Keane, Ireland” into the Google machine you got 28,800,000 results in 0.34 seconds.

And that’s roughly the length of time some prophets of doom reckon Roy’s spell working for, of all people, the Football Association of Ireland will last.

But, the FAI Chief Executive John Delaney insisted when he turned up on NewsTalk yesterday to confirm that Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane would, indeed, be the shiny new Republic of Ireland management team, bygones were entirely bygones, he and Roy had made up, and it was full steam ahead for the good ship SS Republic of Ireland.

“We discussed the past for about 30 seconds,” he told Pat Kenny, but for privacy reasons he opted not to reveal the nature of the chat.

You’d imagine, though, it might have gone something like this:

RK: “You were completely and totally wrong about Saipan John, right?” JD: “I absolutely was Roy, I can never apologise enough.” RK: “Up off your knees man, get over it, like.”

Even the Times of Oman was breathlessly covering the story, Getty churning out photos of the pair later in the day when they turned up in Spain on ITV punditry duty for the Champions League game between Real Sociedad and Manchester United.

Audio

“Republic of Ireland manager Roy Keane and his assistant Martin O’Neill,” read the early captions, possibly – but we’ll have to wait and see – the mother of all Freudian slips.

ITV’s in depth interview with the pair – both bedecked in poppies, which led some angry sorts on the Twitter machine to withdraw their support before a Republic of Ireland ball was kicked under the new regime – lasted a whole 54 seconds.

Adrian Chiles: “Martin, the question on everyone’s lips, why choose Roy to work with?”

Martin: “I’ve asked myself that many a time in the last 48 hours.

Roy: [Chuckle]

Martin: “Personally speaking, I think he’ll be great for me, but more importantly he’ll be great for the Republic of Ireland.”

Roy: “Very excited – I mightn’t look it, but I am.”

Adrian: “It’s Yin and Yang. I don’t know who’s Yin and who’s Yang, but it’s a marriage made in heaven. Possibly?”

Roy: [Cheeky grin] Martin: “Well, I think I’m the bad cop — and I think he’s the bad, bad cop.”

It called to mind Celtic manager Neil Lennon’s response when he heard of the imminent appointments: “God help the players.”

Friday week, it’s Latvia in Dublin. Before the appointment of the Chosen Two, it’d have been like a home game for the visitors. Now? People are selling their grannies to get tickets.

Even if it only lasts 0.34 seconds, it’ll be a heckuva trip.