Former Ireland striker David Connolly joined Football Saturday to discuss Stephen Kenny, Roy Keane and Ireland.
Roy Keane is making headlines again.
After Ireland's win over Lithuania, Keane said:
"It was an important win - better late than never - but they made hard work of it...
"I think the celebrations at the end are way over the top. Honestly. That’s way over the top. For managers, staff and players, to react that way to a friendly win. Come on! Get over it."
They're predictable Roy Keane headlines. Keane criticized Stephen Kenny for celebrating after Ireland beat Lithuania 1-0 at home. Keane didn't think the result or performance was anything to celebrate. It was a friendly, at home against a bad team and Ireland barely won.
In that sense, he's right. But in the larger context of Stephen Kenny's tenure with Ireland, the celebrations were justified.
David Connolly is a former Ireland international who played with Roy Keane and was managed by him. Connolly believes that Troy Parrott's goal marked the end of a difficult stretch for Kenny both on and off the field. Dealing with Covid, coaches leaving and so much criticism, Ireland still got better results and performances.
Connolly isn't surprised that Keane reacted the way he did, because that's who he is.
"No, no. He certainly didn't get carried away," Connolly answered when asked if Keane celebrated much after winning the Championship as Sunderland manager.
"In fact, I remember when we won the league and he was in the dressing room. He'd barely look at you. But for Roy, his eye was just always on the next task, the next mountain to climb. I don't think the lads will take too much heed of what Roy says to be honest.
"There's nothing wrong with enjoying those hard-fought victories because certainly I think Stephen and his squad have had to work really hard for this. Had to really stick together. Roy's just doing his job in the media and that's his honest opinion. That's all you can ask for right.
"I don't think the lads are getting too carried away. But it's a late victory and it was deserved."
Connolly also praised Kenny for building out the squad by developing the younger players. Troy Parrott's goal was a match winner, but also a reflection of the Kenny era. He would not have been on the pitch for previous managers. Neither would Chiedozie Ogbene have been against Belgium.
If this is the end of the first stage of Stephen Kenny's management term, then it's a fitting finish. And more importantly, there's great promise for the second stage.
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