All Parties Impressed With Keane Visit
The Last Word by Brendan White
(first published in the July 2009 Limerick programme)
Last weekend’s visit of Ipswich Town proved to be a fantastic occasion for everybody involved. The game had sold out in advance and the huge crowd enjoyed themselves.
With Ipswich beginning their pre-season, they were using the match to help with their fitness levels, while Blues boss Stephen Henderson used it to rest a few regulars and give opportunities for other players to impress. He also gave a debut to recently signed Paul Walsh, who impressed greatly in the second half. Kenny Browne also proved his class throughout, showing how he wouldn’t have looked out of place in the opposition squad, which his manager duly noted.
The scoreline was never going to be important, but the manner in which the goals were conceded didn’t please the Blues boss. Henderson said he was ‘furious’ with the mistakes that led to the goals.
Debutant Walsh could, and probably should, have opened his and the Blues account with just minutes on the clock with a header that went just over the bar. Kevin Lisbie did open the scoring with a sweetly driven effort to the bottom left hand corner of the net from 25 yards. Under 21 Republic Of Ireland international Owen Garvan scored two goals, the second of which was a wonderful strike to the bottom corner, giving Devine no chance. His manager was quick to pay him credit. “Owen is impressing me all the time, he’s showing me he wants to be in that team for the start of the season. He’s a talented boy.”
Keane was quick to play tribute to the home side too. “I thought some of the Waterford boys tonight, particularly in the first half, did really well and our lads will know they were in a game.” Keane also revealed the obvious talent he sees in the Blues squad. “Yeah there was a few, we probably wouldn’t be able to afford them but there was one or two.” Keane said he was ‘hugely impressed’ at how he and his players had been made welcome since their arrival. He said the hospitality was brilliant and that “these clubs have to be admired.”
For a large part of the 3000+ crowd, the main attraction was not the Blues v Ipswich match, but rather the visit of a certain Cork man. Roy Keane was the star attraction of the night. Signing autographs before the match and every time he made his way to the pitch. What must be complimented were his actions after the game. After the post-match interviews ended, he made his way outside to the team bus, where he was met by hundreds of fans looking for autographs and photographs. Despite having been travelling since 7am that morning, Keane began to sign the autographs and pose for the pictures. While many might have expected him to sign just a handful, he didn’t. Keane remained outside for the best part of 45 minutes with the supporters, even after the team bus had departed.
With many League of Ireland clubs in financial trouble at the moment, games like this can prove to be very financial rewarding, so hopefully now, after the Keano Circus departs, we can get back to the real business of promotion and hopefully another trophy or two.