Just nine days before the 2002 World Cup finals, Republic of Ireland team captain, Roy Keane, is expelled from the squad and sent home.

Keane's dismissal followed a number of media interviews in which he strongly criticised the Irish training set-up.

The training pitch is a disgrace...It's like training on a car park. Bloody rock hard. We've had one or two injuries.

Republic of Ireland manager, Mick McCarthy, defended his decision to remove Keane from the squad, saying that the team could not take disruption and that he could not tolerate any further abuse.

Keane said he wanted to do his country proud but found it difficult to work with people who don't have the same motivation.  

At a press conference Mick McCarthy said,

As a player, I'm very sad to lose him because we all acknowledge his ability. But as a squad member, I'm not bothered one bit.

Steve Staunton will now take over as captain of Ireland's World Cup 2002 team. Other senior members of the squad including Niall Quinn and Gary Kelly declared their allegiance to Mick McCarthy and the rest of the squad. 

This is a squalid and rather tragic end to the international career of Ireland's most inspiring player. His exit from the 2002 World Cup has sent shock waves around the footballing world.

An RTÉ News broadcast on 23 May 2002. The reporter is Tony O'Donoghue.