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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 23 May, 2019
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'It won't happen again' promises Roy as he flies out for Champions League duty

Keane takes off his assistant manager hat for a day and pulls on his pundit’s one for Real v Atletico.

Keane and O'Neill joined forces on ITV's Champions League coverage earlier this season.
Keane and O'Neill joined forces on ITV's Champions League coverage earlier this season.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

IT’S CLUB BEFORE country this morning as Roy Keane jets out to Lisbon for the Champions League final.

But Ireland’s assistant manager has made it perfectly clear that the scheduling clash is a once-off and “won’t happen again.”

While he is on his flying visit to Portugal, the Boys in Green will continue their final preparations for tomorrow’s friendly against Turkey without him.

It means a quick turnaround for Keane who will take his usual place on ITV’s panel for the showdown between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid — and then rush back to the Aviva Stadium dugout.

“It’s not ideal,” he said, “but it won’t happen again, I know that.”

Tonight marks the first time that the European Cup final has been contested by two teams from the same city, but Keane has been so busy with preparations in Malahide that he has hardly had time to think about the historic clash.

“I’ll probably think about it when I get over there. It should hopefully be a top game but sometimes the games you look forward to most can be an anti-climax.

[Atletico] have been outstanding. Real Madrid aren’t bad either, are they? It’s a hard one to call, I have to say. I’m not sure yet.

With games against Italy, Costa Rica and Portugal to follow, tomorrow’s friendly against Turkey is — according to the world rankings — the easiest game of Ireland’s summer run.

Keane still expects a tough test.

“People say there are no easy games in international football. There certainly are, against certain teams, but this won’t be one of them. They’re a very, very good team.

We’re disappointed after the last result and second-half performance against Serbia so we’re looking to bounce back, get a good performance and hopefully a good result.

“The few games we have coming up will be a big test for us.

“You want to play the good teams. It’s a big test for our lads. We’ve got a tough qualifying campaign coming up so there’s no point in playing too many easy teams. I think it’s a great test and preparation for us.”

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Niall Kelly

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