May 25, 2024

Roy Keane and Being Away From Home

Throughout Keane’s autobiography the Manchester United captain repeatedly expresses a longing to be in Cork. The importance of Cork to Roy Keane is discussed elsewhere. Cork was where his home was and where his family was – in the suburb of Mayfield. He constantly refers to his family and friends from Cork as the only people that he could trust. These were the people and Cork was the place where he felt most at ease, most comfortable.

Since Roy Keane got married and has had children there is a sense that his Manchester home has gradually replaced Cork in Keane’s sense of home. (At the time of writing Keane had just moved to Ipswich.) However it will probably never supplant Cork as his spiritual home. In terms of where he feels comfortable, and feels safe being with his wife and children is his comfort zone. Roy Keane simply does not like being out of his comfort zone.

Keane Away from Home for First Time

In 1989 after he joined Cobh Ramblers Keane was sent on an FAI FAS soccer course in Palmerstown in Dublin. It involved the eighteen year old staying in digs in Leixlip from Monday to Friday. “Leaving home was a wrench, even thought I wasn’t going to the moon…the presence of Len Downey [his friend from Cork] made me feel a lot more secure than might otherwise have been the case…I was quite lonely. I missed my family.” [Page 15-16].

Keane Away in Nottingham

Even though Keane said that he loved Nottingham – it reminded him of Cork – “…I occasionally yearned for Mayfield and my family.”[Page 36]. According to his autobiography his manager at the time, Brian Clough, indulged the young Roy Keane by frequently letting him go home to Cork between soccer matches.

Keane supplemented this by creating a mini-Cork bubble for himself in Nottingham by regularly paying for his family and friends to come over to Nottingham. After his first season at Forest he spent the entire six week Summer break in Cork.

Keane’s First Major Away Trip with the Irish Soccer Squad

In 1992 Roy Keane travelled with the Republic of Ireland soccer squad to compete in the US Cup. For Keane the tournament was almost a non-event in many ways. He only played in one match – a 3-1 defeat to the USA. Irish captain Mick McCarthy scored Ireland’s goal. It was only the second, and last, match that Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy played together. Keane wondered “…what the hell am I doing here.”[Page 60]. The trip ended up with the now infamous Boston 1992 row between Keane and McCarthy. All in all it was a trip that the young Roy Keane did not enjoy.

Keane’s First World Cup Finals Experience

Roy Keane’s next away trip for an international tournament was also to the USA for the 1994 World Cup Finals. In his autobiography Keane makes it clear he was far from impressed with the Irish set up and preparation under Jack Charlton. He was angry when he was trotted out at a press conference by Charlton to confirm that there were no problems between him (Keane) and coach Maurice Setters. Keane claims in his book that there was a row but that it was between Setters and Irish captain Andy Townsend. After a great win over Italy, results went downhill and the Irish were eliminated in an anticlimactic match against Holland.

Following the match against the Dutch, in Florida, Keane was selected for a random dope test. It took him two hours to produce a urine sample because he was dehydrated. He said that he longed to get home to see Theresa, now his wife, and their new baby. “Please god give me an injection and let me wake up in Cork.”[Page 127].

An interesting aside is that Keane complained that the Irish squad left without him when he was giving his urine sample and he had to hitch a lift back to the hotel. Perhaps Jack Charlton remembered back to Boston 1992 when he took Keane to task for keeping the entire squad waiting. Keane’s response was “I didn’t ask you to wait.”[Page 61].

The results, the heat, Charlton’s style of play, the dope test, being away from home all contributed to Keane’s sense of disappointment. “A tournament I’d looked forward to playing in, dreamed of since I was a kid, had been a bloody nightmare.”[Pages 118-127].


Roy Keane’s perception of his first two major away trips with the Irish soccer squad was very negative and clearly jaundiced his view of his future involvement with the Republic of Ireland. During his Irish international career under Mick McCarthy, Keane only played one friendly per year on average. With the exception of one match, he never played in any away Republic of Ireland international friendly matches. The exception was an away friendly in Cardiff against Wales in 1997. He did not travel when Ireland took part in the US Cup in 1996 nor in 2000.

In total Keane played in 29, less than half, of the matches that the Republic of Ireland played while McCarthy was Irish manager. Of these only 11 were away matches. For most Irish international matches, home and away, Keane tended to turn up a day or two late to minimise his time away from his family, or perhaps to minimise his time with the Irish squad, or maybe both.

Keane is extremely uncomfortable when he is away from his home and family. His poor view of the Republic of Ireland set up and his disdain for the Irish manager Mick McCarthy made away trips with the Irish almost intolerable for Keane. The idea of a month away from his family in the Far East with the Irish football squad for the 2002 World Cup Finals must have been totally unbearable for Roy Keane.

NOTE: Unless stated otherwise all quotations are from:
Keane: The Autobiography; Roy Keane with Eamon Dunphy (2002); Michael Joseph Ltd

Roy Keane Family Man

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Saipan Table of Contents Roy Keane & Eamon Dunphy
Saipan Introduction Roy Keane & Cork
Methodology Keane’s Aversion to Being Away From Home
Saipan Conclusions Roy Keane’s Relationship with Ireland
Roy Keane – Mick McCarthy Relationship Roy Keane – Zenith Data Systems Cup
Roy Keane Version of Saipan Incident Roy Keane – Jack Charlton Relationship
Mick McCarthy Version of Saipan Incident 1 Roy Keane’s Flawed Character
Mick McCarthy Account of Saipan Incident 2 Roy Keane’s Good Character
Niall Quinn Version of Saipan Incident Roy Keane – Footballer
Jason McAteer Version of Saipan Incident Roy Keane – Team Captain
Matt Holland Version of Saipan Incident Roy Keane – Family Man
Roy Keane & Saipan – The Backdrop Roy Keane & Faking Injury
Roy Keane & Saipan – The Issues Roy Keane – Bad Boy
Keane / McCarthy Boston Row 1992 Roy Keane – Career Lows
Keane Misses Iran Playoff Game Roy Keane – Red Cards
Keane Misses Niall Quinn Testimonial Roy Keane – Cruciate Injury
Countdown to Saipan Incident Roy Keane & Alf-Inge Haaland
Roy Keane Saipan Tirade at Mick McCarthy Roy Keane & Gareth Southgate Red Card
Roy Keane / Tom Humphries Saipan Interview 1 Roy Keane & Alan Shearer Red Card
Keane / Humphries Saipan Interview 2 Roy Keane / Alex Ferguson Relationship 1
Roy Keane / Irish Times Saipan Interview 3 Roy Keane & Sir Alex Ferguson 2
Roy Keane / Paul Kimmage Saipan Interview 1 Roy Keane & Charity
Keane / Kimmage Saipan Interview 2 Roy Keane & Autobiography Contradictions
Roy Keane / Sunday Independent Saipan Interview 3 Roy Keane & Contradictions
Roy Keane / Tommie Gorman Interview 1 Roy Keane – Integrity
Roy Keane / Tommy Gorman Interview 2 Roy Keane – International Matches
Roy Keane / RTE Interview 3 Roy Keane – Football Record
FAI Involvement in Saipan Affair Roy Keane & Sandwiches
Saipan Reaction of Irish Players Roy Keane – Walker
Mick McCarthy – ‘crap player, crap manager’ Saipan – Pacific Island
Roy Keane / Mick McCarthy Playing Record I Keano – The Musical
Colin Healy – Forgotten Man of Saipan Roy Keane – Football Manager
Saipan Ten Years Later Roy Keane’s Dog Triggs
Roy Keane’s Autobiography Saipan Bibiliography


Roy Keane – View Seven Years After Saipan
Football Quotes on Saipan


Triggs – The Autobiography of Roy Keane’s Dog
Ireland at 2002 World Cup Finals – Irish 2002 World Cup Squad – Irish Group Matches
Ireland V Cameroon – Ireland V Germany – Ireland V Saudi Arabia – Ireland V Spain