Roy Keane open minded on missing matches for marriages

Kevin Long missing wedding of his brother to be with Ireland squad

Ireland assistant manager  Roy Keane. “I missed my sister’s wedding. She was getting married and I had a friendly with Manchester United.”  Photograph: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane. “I missed my sister’s wedding. She was getting married and I had a friendly with Manchester United.” Photograph: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

 

Roy Keane reacted with mild amusement to questions about the current plight of Austrian coach Marcel Koller, who is struggling on a couple of fronts, not least for a left back, with one of the more obvious contenders to play in Dublin unavailable because he is getting married.

Koller has forward Marko Aranotovic and midfielder Stefan Ilsanker suspended for the June 11th qualifier, but also has a problem on the left side of his defence where he had been considering Andreas Ulmer as an option before discovering that the 31-year-old would not be around.

Asked about it as he named his squad this week, he expressed his exasperation: “I cannot understand that. If you are on call, you have to be ready. If someone is injured, they can’t be at the pool in Mauritius.”

Keane smiled but started cautiously when asked about the situation, insisting that the loss of players, for whatever the reason, was an inevitable part of the international game.

“At any stage of the season, any time you come together, even for us, there’ll always be stuff going on in the background whether it be lads picking up injuries…Obviously, the wedding is a strange one. Maybe..... Nah, do you know, I’ve not thought too much about it because our game is still two and bit weeks away.

Setbacks

“What you tend to do when we’re together for these few days is give all your energy to the group of lads we have. You can’t be getting distracted by what’s going on with the opposition. And we’ve had our little setbacks over the last few weeks: lads picking up late injuries. People like Shane Long etcetera. It’s just par for the course.

“But yeah, the wedding one...” he said, clearly a little bemused. “I think it’s happened before with other sports where lads have missed occasions because they’re getting married. But listen, everyone to their own.”

Kevin Long is, as it happens, missing the wedding of his brother Daniel in order to be with the Ireland squad this coming week but then, as Keane points out, a little mischievously, “it’s not his wedding, is it?”

Long, it was put to put to him, has said the decision was not a difficult one for him.

“Well, it shouldn’t be,” said Keane with a grin. “I missed my sister’s wedding. She was getting married and I had a friendly with Manchester United. You miss these occasions – it’s par for the course.  And his brother might get married again another time.”

Austria squad: Bachmann (Stoke), Lindner (Eintracht Frankfurt), Kuster (Mattersburg); Hinteregger, Danso (Augsburg), Dragovic (B Leverkusen), Lainer, Lazaro, Stangl (RB Salzburg), Prödl (Watford), Wimmer (Tottenham); Alaba (Bayern Munich), Baumgartlinger (B Leverkusen), Grillitsch, Junuzovic, Kainz (Werder Bremen), Harnik (Hannover), Laimer (RB Salzburg), Sabitzer (RB Leipzig), Schaub (Rapid Vienna); Burgstaller (Schalke), Gregoritsch (Hamburg), Janko (Basel).

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