Roy Keane's phone made a bit of a show of the Cork man yesterday at a business breakfast event in his native city.
It was a priceless moment that almost brought the house down, writes Padraig Hoare of the Evening Echo.
During the Bord Gáis Energy leadership and winning in business breakfast event in the Clarion Hotel, Ireland assistant manager's phone went off during a question and answer session.
The Irish soccer legend - who famously chastised a reporter during a press conference as Ipswich Town boss for allowing his phone to ring aloud — was answering questions by RTÉ reporter and session host Conor Brophy.
A mobile phone rang out and Mr Brophy asked if something like that would still annoy him today. The Mayfield man grinned sheepishly and admitted it was himself that was the guilty party this time, sending the audience into delighted laughter.
He was part of a fascinating panel delivering insights into what it took to lead in top-level sport.
Cork hurling All-Star and All-Ireland winning goalkeeper Dónal Óg Cusack and former Ireland ladies rugby captain Fiona Coghlan made up the panel of special guests.
The former Manchester United midfielder said he was really looking forward to the Republic of Ireland’s historic match in Turner’s Cross in May. Martin O’Neill’s men will play Belarus in a warm-up game for the European Championships at the venue on May 31, the first time a senior international match will be played at the home of Cork City.
He joked that the team’s base in Fota for the match was perfect as it had wifi for the players, plenty of golf and most importantly, it was “near my house” in Cork.
“It is great for the Cork supporters and there will be open training, which will be nice for them. Fota will look after us so I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
He also revealed that he would have had no issue in playing for a female manager if history was ever made in top-level football.
“I have four daughters who I would back to the hilt in whatever they wanted to do. It’s all about mindset. I’d be okay with it.” he said. Fiona Coghlan said that there had been progress in women’s sport at the top level including her own sport of rugby but that there was still a long way to go.
“One of the reasons I retired was because of the domestic game, I thought that we couldn’t progress any further because of the way the structures were. Thankfully, after that they went high-performance and more structures were put in place to make the team the best it could be.”
Dónal Óg Cusack revealed that it was the amateur ethos of the GAA that made him most proud of Gaelic Games. “If you asked me when I was 21 what I’d love to do, I’d have said it was to be a professional sportsperson, but if you ask me now, at 38, having gone through it all, I think that the amateur model is a healthy one and it’s a good one to keep, albeit maybe a bit more balanced towards the players and it keeps players grounded.”
This article first appeared in today's Evening Echo.