Rob­bie’s re­turn and rugby win make it a good week for Ir­ish

Bray People - - Sports -

‘IN­SIDE RIGHT’ never thought he’d be jump­ing to the de­fence of the down­right frus­trat­ing Rob­bie Keane, but that’s ex­actly what we’re go­ing to do.

Al­though yours truly has been known to crit­i­cize the Tal­laght tal­is­man in the past af­ter some down­right crim­i­nal misses in front of goal, we feel he wasn’t given a real chance at Liver­pool by Rafa Ben­itez.

Keane un­doubt­edly strug­gled to find his feet at An­field but when he did start to show some glimpses of his abil­ity Rafa had him back on the bench quicker than a Ger­rard thun­der­bolt.

In our eyes the piv­otal pe­riod in the Ir­ish cap­tain’s short spell at An­field came when he looked to have fi­nally set­tled his nerves with a stun­ning strike in the 1-1 draw with Arse­nal and fol­lowed it up with a dou­ble against Bolton in their next Premier League game.

How­ever, Ben­itez in­ex­pli­ca­bly dropped the Ir­ish­man again for the next game at New­cas­tle, a con­test which Liver­pool won 5-1 at a can­ter and would ar­guably have been a great chance for Keane to ex­tend his scor­ing run.

Every­one who watches the game knows that strik­ers thrive on goals so why not play Keane when his con­fi­dence is high?

With Fer­nando Tor­res side­lined the man­ager’s choice to leave him out that day was baf­fling to say the least, but then again the Spa­niard is no stranger to pe­cu­liar de­ci­sions.

Even af­ter Keane’s re­turn to Spurs, Ben­itez had to get a swipe in, claim­ing that the striker couldn’t han­dle the pres­sure at the Mersey­side club, but why can’t he just leave well enough alone, in­stead of mak­ing it clear to all and sundry that it is in fact he who is feel­ing the pres­sure of fi­nally hav­ing some hope in the cham­pi­onship race.

We’ve al­ready seen with his un­fruit­ful at­tempt to wind up the canny Alex Fer­gu­son that he’s feel­ing the pinch and are sure a mix­ture of luck and the sheer class of Fer­nando Tor­res can’t bail him out for­ever.

We ap­plaud Rob­bie Keane for not get­ting in­volved in the usual slag­ging matches that be­lit­tle the Premier League (Mr. Charles In­som­nia be­ing a clas­sic ex­am­ple), choos­ing to keep a dig­ni­fied si­lence on the mat­ter and for once we sin­cerely hope he does his talk­ing with a good goal haul in the re­main­der of the sea­son.

Any­way, the fact that the striker is back at Spurs should au­gur well for Ire­land, be­cause to have any chance of reach­ing the World Cup fi­nals, we need a sharp, con­fi­dent Keane lead­ing the line and there’s a far greater chance of that un­der Harry Red­knapp than the be­wil­der­ing Ben­itez.

And be­fore

it sounds like ‘In­side Right’ has gone all soft, we don’t feel overly sorry for Rob­bie that he wasn’t a hit at his child­hood he­roes Liver­pool.

It’s not as if he’s join­ing the hordes in the dole queue, suf­fer­ing the arc­tic con­di­tions to get a few bob to pay his way.

The mil­lions will still con­tinue to roll in no mat­ter what club crest is printed on the big, fat cheque.

Now that’s the kind of hard­ship we could all put up with.

Else­where the per­for­mance of the Ir­ish rugby team against France in Croke Park on Satur­day was enough to warm even the cold­est of hearts.

A fan­tas­tic dis­play from both sides from start to fin­ish and thank­fully we came out on the right side of it.

How­ever, let’s not get car­ried away just yet. De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Wales were rightly in­stalled as favourites from the start and are still very much the team to beat.

They mightn’t have been any­where near their best in Ed­in­burgh on Sun­day, but still man­aged to tear the be­leagured Scots to shreds.

Hope­fully ev­ery­thing will go ac­cord­ing to script and we’ll wit­ness a Grand Slam show­down in Cardiff on March 21.

A win­ner-takes-all con­test against our Celtic cousins would cer­tainly be some­thing to savour.

Rob­bie Keane should start bang­ing in the goals again now he’s back at Spurs.

Jamie Heaslip on his way to scor­ing Ire­land’s open­ing try against France.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.