“Roy Keane drove us through that match.”
Gallagher claimed that Keane’s performance during the Republic of Ireland’s 1-0 win against the Netherlands in a 2002 World Cup qualifier was one of the most impressive displays from any footballer.
Ireland vs Holland.
In September 2001, Mick McCarthy’s Ireland faced off against Louis van Gaal‘s Netherlands in a bid to secure a spot in the play-offs for the 2002 World Cup.
The Dutch were the overwhelming favourites for the tie with players such as Edwin van der Sar, Marc Overmars, Patrick Kluivert and Ruud van Nistelrooy on their side.
McCarthy’s team needed a victory to have any hopes of qualifying for the World Cup — and they managed to do just that.
Despite being reduced to 10 men, Ireland went on to win 1-0 courtesy of a brilliant strike from Jason McAteer.
Keane, in particular, was praised for his all-round performance against the Dutch. The game was arguably his best display in an Ireland jersey.
The result meant that the Dutch missed out on the World Cup despite having reached the semi-finals of Euro 2000 just a year previous. Ireland’s stunning victory is still hailed as one of the team’s greatest-ever wins.
Gallagher praises Keane.
In light of this, Gallagher spoke to Off the Ball and praised Keane for being a great leader.
“I booked him a few times when he deserved it, but I didn’t ever have to get close to giving him a red,” the 63-year-old explained.
“But I thought he was another player that was driven by (a) competitive edge.
“And a great guy to be around. You could see he picked people up when needed.”
Gallagher also recalled Keane’s impressive performance against the Oranje at Lansdowne Road.
“He was a great leader,” the Sky Sports pundit added.
“For evidence of that, you only have to look back at that Holland game in Lansdowne Road.
“Everyone talks about the McAteer goal but they forget Gary Kelly was sent off after 30 minutes and Roy Keane drove us through that match.
“That next hour was one of the best performance you’ll ever see from a footballer in view of how he played and how he led.”