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 By Chris Wright

Full transcript: Fiery exchange between Keane and Irish journalists

Martin O'Neill has admitted an alleged hotel fight between his Ireland deputy Roy Keane and a fan is a distraction ahead of their Euro 2016 clash with Scotland, but backed his assistant.

As Monday happened to be a day of the week ending in 'Y' again this week, the Republic of Ireland's assistant manager Roy Keane found himself embroiled in a tense stand-off with journalists at an FAI press conference.

Keane was asked by a reporter whether or not he believed the media sideshow that constantly envelopes him was becoming a distraction to Martin O'Neill's mission to haul Ireland through Euro 2016 qualification. Of course, Keane took umbrage at the line of questioning and replied in characteristically bristly fashion.

According to the Irish Times, the as-yet-unnamed reporter started by simply asking Keane for his take on the ramifications, if any, of his reported scuffle with a fan resulting in the gardai being called to the Ireland hotel.

What follows is a verbatim transcription of the exchange which followed:.

Reporter: "I expect to get the stare but I'm going to ask it anyway. Martin was asked before the match about the (Portmarnock) incident, and he said it was a distraction, but he'd moved on.

"In the last six months - I'd like your thoughts on this - between the Celtic link, Villa link, the book being published and the incident last week.''

Keane: 'I'm not giving you any comment. Why would you think I have to give you an opinion on everything? Do you think you've a right to sit there and ask me anything you want and get an answer? I think I've been more than fair with you.''

Reporter: "You have. But my point is Martin has been asked about distractions. Has he had enough of those distractions?''

Keane: "What are you asking me for? What are you talking about? What distractions? Can I do anything about the Celtic stuff?''

Reporter: "Yeah, Celtic and Villa.''

Keane: "Can I do anything about them things that come up? If I get approached about a job and I'm up front with the manager and the media, do you want me to... how is that a distraction? What can I do about that? You're making out I'm bringing all these distractions on.''

Reporter: "So they just happen, they're just coincidences?''

Keane: "Well, if a club approaches me, these things just happen, yeah. How is the think the book's a distraction to a group of professional people? Do me a favour.

It was at this point that Roy reached "Full Keane" mode.

Keane "And then people all writing about the incident the other night, lies... and people have got pals and talking to them. You think I've got to justify that to everyone? You all sit there and think I've got to answer to everything?

"Who in the hell do you think you are? I've got to answer to you? I answer to the FAI and Martin. And if we don't get the right results, I'll be gone and you won't lose a minute's sleep,so don't worry about distractions. The things you write about are distractions.''

Reporter: "It was an obvious thing to write about. There was an incident, so we had to write about it.''

Keane: "Exactly. But you're on about Celtic and Aston Villa. What do you want me to do about them? If Celtic approached me, what did you want me to say? You couldn't get enough of it. So what can I do about the Celtic situation?''

Reporter: "I don't know. It was extraordinary that Martin brought it into our attention.''

Keane: "And what other incidents? The book? Do you think the book was a distraction? An agreement was made six months before it was out.''

FAI press officer attempts to intervene: "Leave it there, thanks.''

Keane: "Ask Martin. What's he said?''

Reporter: "I think he's had enough of these (distractions).''

Keane: "Go and ask him. Go and see him in the lobby. You're not brave enough to ask him?''

Reporter: "I am brave enough to ask him.''

Keane: "Go and ask him. You're asking me what Martin O'Neill might be thinking? Why don't you ask Martin?''

FAI press officer: "All right ...''

Keane: "What if we qualified? Do you think it will be a distraction? Are you thinking it's all a distraction from the result the other night?''

Reporter: "It was the build-up to the game for 24 hours. Everyone was talking about it.''

Keane: "What was the problem?''

Reporter: "We were all talking about it.''

Keane: "Talking about what? Talking about something you don't have a clue about, and everyone writing lies. The usual nonsense. 'This happened, that happened...'''

Second reporter: "You said you wouldn't talk about Frank [Gillespie] and what happened the other night. Have you anything to say about it?''

Keane: "Frank? You know him?''

Second reporter: "Yes.''

Keane: "Of course you do. You know him well. You know Mick McCarthy well, don't you? You know Frank well, don't you?''

Second reporter: "Do you want to say anything about the other night?''

Keane doesn't respond at this point, gets up from the table and begins walking to the door.

As he makes his exit, the two reporters thank him.

Keane pauses briefly and says: "For what?''

First reporter: "For your time.''

And with that, Keane was gone -- probably storming off home to walk his dogs or something.


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