FOOTBALL: Robbie’s always Keane to play

Robbie Keane of Republic of Ireland celebrate's after scoring his side's first goal during the Three International Friendly game between the Republic of Ireland and Oman at the Aviva Stadium.
Robbie Keane of Republic of Ireland celebrate's after scoring his side's first goal during the Three International Friendly game between the Republic of Ireland and Oman at the Aviva Stadium.
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68 goals in 146 international appearances! In any man’s language a phenomenal record.

For sure it’s a fact that we’ll never see either figure equalled never mind surpassed in these days of fleeting international appearances where, when you’ve made your reputation, playing for your country, with its minimal financial returns, becomes an irksome chore; Ryan Giggs style.

It was never like that with Robbie Keane. Whether in Italy with Inter Milan, with his various English clubs including Liverpool and Spurs or, of late, in the MLS, Keano always answered Ireland’s call – a perfect example to all aspiring young hopefuls. And it’s a fact that the Irish jersey was a better fit than those of his clubs at none of which did he achieve legendary status. But with the Men in Green it’s a different story.

He is now a fully paid-up member of the Irish Icons Society joining the ranks of Johnny Giles, Liam Brady, Paul McGrath, Packie Bonnar, Shay Given, Charlie Hurley and another select few. Both on and off the pitch he has been an absolute credit to his family, his country and the game itself. It has often been said of others but, in this case we shall truly never see his like again.