When Roy Keane rinsed Mick McCarthy with the mother of all comebacks on first Ireland trip
You come at the king, you'd better not miss
In fairness to Mick McCarthy, he was caught with his pants around his ankles. 1992 was the year and McCarthy, with nine years, over 50 caps and a World Cup's experience behind him, could be forgiven for considering himself as one of the big dogs in the Ireland dressing room.
The big dog wants to rule the roost.
The Republic of Ireland team had stuttered through a Mickey Mouse international football tournament and what followed was a "day and a half of beer," according to one of the self confessed renegades Niall Quinn.
As a senior member of the squad, Mick McCarthy was seething. He was displeased with the whole show and when his teammates turned up late for the bus home, he had his chance. One-by-one, Mick called them out and threw digs.
"How dare you, you're a disgrace, you should know better Niall Quinn," recalled the Dubliner on Irish TV channel Virgin Media.
Mick McCarthy called Roy Keane a disgrace on his first Ireland trip 😆
He'd live to regret that, as Keane rinsed him one hell of a comeback 🥊pic.twitter.com/O9HgnfEiJG
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) February 16, 2021
Ronnie Whelan was next in line and just like those who went before him, the seasoned veteran took his scolding on the chin. You do the crime, you do the time.
Then came a young Roy Keane, 19 years old and swinging for the jugular. Unlike his predecessors, Roy wasn't prepared to let McCarthy call the shots and when the veteran took Roy on "First trip, disgrace," he said, Keane was evidently hyped up and loving it.
"First touch, disgrace," Keane responded to leave the bus in stitches.
"The whole bus went 'oh my God, that's the most incredible comeback I've ever heard'," recalled Quinn, "We were kind of rooting for him in one way, even though we were all great friends with Mick!"
Thankfully, Keane and McCarthy's relationship improved from that point, and there was no further arguments between the two... Apart from the most controversial and debated incident in Irish football history, of course.