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Sunday 22 October 2017

Security at Euros doesn't concern Keane

Brussels bombings raise further fears about the safety of Irish fans in France this summer

Roy Keane enjoys training on the pitch. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Roy Keane enjoys training on the pitch. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during a press conference at Abbotstown yesterday. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

It's been the elephant in the room since the Paris atrocities last year and Brussels has brought the issue of security during the Euor 2016 finals front and centre.

Everyone is long beyond the point of assumption that these awful events are an evil part of life and international travel. The unvoiced concern since Ireland qualified is that Euro 2016 will be so afflicted.

Naturally enough, Roy Keane can only say what any football coach or manager can say in the face of images and reports the horror of which is never lessened by frequency.

Footballers will be the safest people of all in France with a ring of heavy weaponry around them at all times but even writing that is alarming.

We used to call it a police cordon or a ring of steel in very troubled times like Ireland's trip North during the qualifying for USA 94 but these days due regard must be given to the fact that heavily armed soldiers were on the streets of Paris in November and Brussels yesterday and will, no doubt, have a role to play in maintaining the pace during the finals.

Irish fans have travelled to places where conflict or natural disaster has turned normal society upside down and they always trade on their good humour and ability to mix.

Attribute

Happy people look happy in any language and all over the world, people from all cultures have responded well to this winning attribute.

But how can you plan for one random soul who chooses to blow himself up and everyone around him? An Irish passport or an easy grin won't help in that awful scenario.

Keane certainly can't but he is happy that there are others who have been and will be planning to deal with just such a threat.

"It was just shocking news for us to see it this morning and obviously our thoughts are with everybody who suffered. It's horrendous," he said.

"To be honest, we've had no discussion, no issues with security."

"That is not our job. Our job is to go out there and prepare the team as best as we can and for the players to go out and just focus on the game. We've enough on our plate to be worried about," added Keane.

"We've been to the hotel and no doubt it was secure," he said.

"The fans will be given details. France has had big tournaments before and its gone ok. I reckon the security will be stepped up even more so, if it had to be. I'm pretty sure it was in top order anyway."

"There's always the concern that you might cross the road today and something happens, but you've got to try and beat that by going over there and being part of a fantastic experience for everybody."

"We want the team to do well, get out of the group and take it from there. We want the fans to go over and be proud of watching Ireland."

"Enjoy going to France. I'm sure they'll get well looked after. Enjoy the food, enjoy the wine. I'm sure you've all been to France. I've been to there, Paris. I've been over there with my family. It's a fantastic country."

"Let the security people take care of the security."

Keane, sporting a beard which could easily house a family of squirrels, has been enervated by the qualification experience and the raw excitement which only international tournament football can generate.

"Of course, you're back out there. You're out there to be judged. How you're going to do in the tournament? What you can bring to the party.

"The last few months have been nice with the plaudits after the game, the manager the players, myself. It was great, really great."

"But that's over with now. All that stops. It's refocus on what we can bring to the tournament and have an Irish team we can be proud of. Go over there and be remembered."

"It's easy to sit here and say we'll have an impact. We have to go out and do our best, prepare as well as we can, pick the right team and the right squad and have a good spirit in the group," said Ireland's No. 2.

"Excitement is exactly what this is about. It's exciting. It's what we're in the game for. The Bosnia experience was fantastic."

"The country afterwards, the staff, brilliant, brilliant times. The bus journey back. This is what you remember."

"We have another chance to have an impact. Don't go over there with the attitude that we're just happy to be here. We can't. Thank God we don't have a manager who thinks that way."

"It's the same with the staff and the players. We are going over there to do the best we can and not come back after a week or two saying 'ah it was a great experience'.

"No no, we want to stay there as long as we can. You're on about security in France? We want to stay as long as possible," he said with a smile.

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