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Why do fools fall in love? A timeline of Keane and Dunphy's relationship through the years

We examine the pundit’s love-hate relationship with the star, encompassing autobiographies and other controversies.

Dunphy penned Keane's first autobiography in 2003.
Dunphy penned Keane's first autobiography in 2003.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Updated at 02.15

THE LATEST DISPUTE between Roy Keane and Eamon Dunphy is part of a long-running love-hate relationship between the pair.

The relationship now appears to have turned sour, but there was a time when the two were thought to be more or less inextricably linked, as this timeline shows…

1990-2001: Dunphy’s admiration for the Ireland star grows as he gradually develops into one of the Premier League’s best players. During the height of Keane’s powers, Dunphy says on RTÉ that he’d have Keane in a team rather than any other player in the world, including Zinedine Zidane — who was widely regarded as the world’s best player around the late 90s/early 00s.

2002: Keane, Ireland’s best player at the time, sensationally falls out with Mick McCarthy just prior to the 2002 World Cup and departs the squad — whether he quit or was sent home is still a matter of heated debate to this day. Most pundits condemn Keane for his behaviour, however Dunphy staunchly defends him for sticking to his principles and refusing to accept the supposedly mediocre standards in the team’s training camp. Dunphy is so invested in defending Keane that ultimately falls out with fellow pundit and friend John Giles over the argument, with the pair refusing to speak to one another for a period.

The relationship between Keane and Dunphy was heavily satirised as a result of these events.

Source: ParnellMooney/YouTube

2003: Keane: The Autobiography, the star’s first book, ghost-written by Dunphy, is released. There is much controversy surrounding a passage where Keane was alleged to have admitted to deliberately injuring then-Manchester City player Alf Inge Haaland. He is forced to defend himself at an FA hearing and Dunphy is called as a key witness, with Keane ultimately receiving a five-match ban for his actions.

2005: Keane leaves Manchester United after a controversial MUTV interview in which he heavily criticises several of the club’s players, while his relationship with boss Alex Ferguson and assistant Carlos Queiroz was also becoming increasingly strained. Dunphy again vehemently defends Keane on RTÉ.

2006: All still appears to be rosy between the pair, as Dunphy appears as a guest at Keane’s testimonial match between Manchester United and Celtic after announcing his retirement.

2007: Dunphy praises Keane’s early forays into management, as he helps Sunderland get promoted in his first year there.

2009: Keane attacks the Irish team following their infamous aggregate loss to France during a crucial World Cup 2010 qualifying playoff. Dunphy hits back saying that Keane’s comments were inappropriate and suggesting he looked like “a very angry man” and that needs “to move on” from the Saipan arguments. He adds that Keane has become a “media tart who is all over the place”.


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Keane also appears on The Late Late Show and denies himself and Dunphy were ever “friends” despite their working relationship.

2012: Dunphy criticises Keane, suggesting he’s “lost the plot,” after the Manchester United legend hammers the Ireland players and fans following some shambolic performances at Euro 2012.

Source: Keepitonthedeck/YouTube

October 2013: In an interview with TV3, Dunphy reveals that Keane’s agent Michael Kennedy rang the pundit to rebuke him for publicly criticising Keane. “I got a phone call from Michael Kennedy saying: ‘What’s going on here Eamon? You’re criticising Roy.’ I said, ‘Well I’m a sports writer, Michael!’ Michael: ‘Yeah but we hired you’, I said ‘but you didn’t hire me for life! Are you gonna pay me now? ‘Cause if you are, I’ll give up the sports writing and go work for Roy as a PR man!’”

Dunphy also dismisses Keane’s chances of becoming Ireland manager in the wake of Giovanni Trapattoni’s departure, telling TheScore.ie that “he doesn’t like people”.

November 2013: Keane is announced as Ireland assistant manager with Martin O’Neill named as manager. After admitting to some initial reservations, Dunphy says he is behind the move, after speaking about it with with “football people like John Giles”.

June 2014: Amid reports that Keane is set to accept an offer to become Aston Villa assistant boss, Dunphy claims it would be “madness” for him to undertake both roles. He does anyway.

October 2014: Details of The Second Half, Keane’s forthcoming autobiography, are leaked, including a passage where he suggests Dunphy did him no favours during the subsequent FA hearing over the Alf Inge Haaland-related passage (see 2003), where the pundit was supposed to be defending him.

Dunphy then hits back at Keane, telling Today FM: “I hung myself out to dry. I said I made the whole thing up. I sort of threw myself under the bus. And he’s actually quoted in this book as saying he has no regrets about the Alfe Inge Haaland thing.”

He also accuses Keane of “bullsh**ting” in his Irish Daily Star column.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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