Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has given “full support” to his national team assistant Roy Keane over an incident that took place at the team hotel on Wednesday.
Late last night, the British tabloid Daily Mail broke the story of an alleged altercation between Keane and a individual outside of Ireland’s team hotel in Portmarnock. According to the Mail, there was a brief exchange of words between Keane and a fan before things quickly heated up. The argument was ended by an alleged punch from Keane that knocked the man to the ground.
“It appeared fairly innocuous,” a Daily Mail source said. “A man approached Roy outside the hotel, there appeared to be a few heated words and then the man was on the ground. It happened very quickly. Gardai (Guardians of the Peace of Ireland) were called along with the ambulance services and the man was taken away to receive medical attention.”
A Garda spokesman said that an investigation into the incident was ongoing. The victim did not contact the Gardai. It was initially reported by the Mail that a person who eye witnessed the alleged assault called authorities. But it has come to light that Keane himself called the Gardai.
Today, reading a statement on camera, Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill said: “The FAI and I have been fully briefed about the circumstances of what happened at the team hotel last night.”
“Roy asked that the Gardai be called and he has notified them of what happened. While this process is ongoing, we are unable to say more at this point.”
“However, I can say that having been made aware of the facts, Roy has both my full support and the full support of the FAI and [chief executive] John Delaney.”
“We are now focused, as we have been all week, on the game at hand and we won’t be saying anything more about this issue.”
The Republic of Ireland is scheduled to play Scotland at Celtic Park on Friday in their EURO 2016 qualifier. Ireland are currently joint-leaders of Group D with Poland with seven points after three qualifying fixtures.