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Roy Keane 'living the dream' and more of the week's best sportswriting
Enjoy a selection of some of our favourite pieces published elsewhere over the last seven days.

salford-england-feb-16th-roy-keane-looking-on-during-the-sky-bet-league-2-match-between-salford-city-and-barrow-at-moor-lane-salford-on-tuesday-16th-february-2021-credit-chris-donnelly-mi-news Alamy Stock Photo Roy Keane pictured at a League Two game between Salford City and Barrow earlier this year. Alamy Stock Photo

“Now he drives the motorways at night when the TV lights are extinguished, the gunk removed from his face by the make-up people. He likes the quiet, the road beneath him, the dark and the privacy, playing his music or summoning the radio for company. He has his moments when tiredness tackles him from behind. ‘If I am driving back, I’d get to Stoke and I might pull over. Stoke is about 40 minutes away, I’m nearly home and I’m saying I’ll make it but…’ Common sense prevails and he will pull over, maybe take a power nap, maybe a stretch of the warrior’s legs, usually temptation. ‘I’ll get my treat to myself, which is a cup of tea and a [Cadbury] Starbar. I laugh to myself. I’m not quite the Georgie Best. Where did it all go wrong? It’s not Miss World and thirty grand on the bed. Got me Starbar and tea. Living the dream!’”

– Roy Keane speaks to David Walsh for an extensive interview in the Sunday Times.

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“Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be Kilbrittain’s night as Lisgoold were stronger and fully deserving of their victory – like Valley Rovers in 1988 and 1989, the East Cork side followed a junior county title with one at intermediate level. Even more impressively, their two victories came within the space of three months, having won the 2020 junior championship back in August. It was disappointing, certainly – Kilbrittain will feel that they didn’t play to their best – but for every winner there has to be a loser. When I used to complain about my lot as a child, my mother would gently but firmly inform me that there were children who would only love to have what I have. Similarly, there were ten teams in the lower intermediate grade who would have swapped their year for a place in the decider: better to have got to the final and lost than never to have got there at all.”

– Denis Hurley of Cork’s Evening Echo laments a county final defeat for his club.

* * * * * 

“Getting on the pitch after is class, and you tap some of the players on the back. There’s a huge crowd. Dad takes a photo with you and Evan and Sean O’Leary Hayes. When you get home you run into the house to tell your mam all about it. Then you and Evan take turns at scoring goals for Midleton against the wall, like Conor Lehane and Ross O’Regan and Luke O’Farrell do. Evan can hit it really hard, sometimes you can too. Evan’s mam comes to pick him up, and you go inside and have dinner. It’s chicken, your favourite. Your dad is going to the club to celebrate, but before he goes, you ask him if he thinks you’ll play for Midleton in a county final someday. He smiles and rubs your hair and says: ‘Course you will, kid.’ You like it when he smiles.”

– Another trip down south as Tadhg Coakley pens an ode to county final day in Cork for the Irish Examiner.

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“Eight months into his second spell with Schalke, a golden time that had brought his first major trophy, the DFB-Pokal, adulation from the crowd and progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League (where they were beaten by the last great Manchester United side), Rangnick was too physically and mentally exhausted to carry on. ‘Burnout syndrome,‘ was the clinical diagnosis. Weakened by glandular fever and an unhealthy long-hour lifestyle and diet, he couldn’t go on. Many thought he was done with coaching when he accepted Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz’s offer to do what he had done at Hoffenheim on a much more grandiose scale involving multiple football clubs. But Rangnick wasn’t done. When Leipzig needed a coach to step in at the beginning of 2015-16, Rangnick’s ‘best man for the job’ policy led him to appoint… himself. He duly won promotion to the Bundesliga with Leipzig and stepped aside, content with overseeing the further development of the club, its players, and an increasing number of coaches who graduated from the Rangnick coaching university to get high-level jobs elsewhere.”

– For The Athletic, Raphael Honigstein charts the rise of Ralf Rangnick as he gets set to take charge of Manchester United.

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