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When Roy Keane wowed the Ireland team with incredible comeback to being called a disgrace

Roy Keane

Even as a 21-year-old breaking into the Republic of Ireland side, Roy Keane was never afraid to stick up for himself.

Niall Quinn has recalled the hilarious moment the Irish team discovered that Roy Keane, who was still plying his trade at Nottingham Forest at the time, shot down a dig from Mick McCarthy.

The Irish team had been drowning their sorrows after some tough games and manager Jack Charlton had already departed so Mick McCarthy was tasked with ensuring the rest of the team made it on the bus for the airport.

The extended drinking session meant that a number of players were late getting on the coach, one of whom was Keane.

And while the likes of Quinn and Ronnie Whelan accepted their scoldings, Keane made sure that he got the last word on McCarthy that day.

Quinn told Virgin Media: “It might have been 1992, maybe something like that. It was around the time Roy got in the team, I’m trying to think when Roy first got in the side.

“We went out to play in a tournament but we didn’t acquit ourselves very well so we went on the beer for a day and a half afterwards.

“Some of us were late getting back to the bus and Jack had already gone to the airport and he left Mick in charge.

“And as we got on the bus one by one, Mick ate the head off us even though he was a player.

“He was saying, ‘You’re a disgrace. You should know better, Niall Quinn. Who do you think you are, coming this late?’ And ‘Ronnie Whelan, who you think you are?’

“Then it came to Roy and Mick just said, ‘First trip, disgrace!’

Roy Keane

“And Roy just went, ‘First touch, disgrace!’

“The whole bus went, ‘Oh my God! That’s the most incredible comeback we’ve ever heard.’

“And we were all rooting for him in one way. Of course, we were all great friends with Mick but it was just, wow, this bloke is afraid of nothing because Mick would have been tougher to deal with than Jack.”

Niall Quinn – Bootroom to Boardroom airs on Wednesday night at 10.15pm on Virgin Media Two.

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