Roy Keane Ireland’s new assistant manager, renowned for his steely focus and frankness was for once left speechless when asked to choose between football and dogs.
In an interview exclusively given to Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind annual magazine Guidelines, published this week, dog lover Keane said he simply couldn’t choose between dogs and football: “Soccer has given me a great life, but I love my dogs. I really don’t know; I’m going to have to pass on that one. That’s the toughest question I’ve had in the 20 odd years I’ve been a professional!”
Roy has been the main patron of Irish Guide Dogs since 2001. “Irish Guide Dogs appealed to me because it is such a great cause. I love dogs; it’s based in Cork and they asked me. To be honest I wasn’t sure I was going to last this long but that tells you how well it’s gone and how much I enjoy what I do.
Each year Roy works with the charity to help to raise funds and awareness, particularly during the SHADES campaign in early May. Irish Guide Dogs receives little in the way of public funding - it is 80% funded through voluntary donations and fundraising events.
“It’s just amazing what the dogs do, they give people independence. People can go on holidays, they can go to the shops these dogs are giving people back their life.”
Keane, a renowned dog lover who has two dogs himself, a Labrador and a German Shepherd, said that he is at his most relaxed when he is out walking his dogs. “When I’m out walking my dogs I’m really at ease with myself. The health benefits are huge; they’re good for my health, good for my head. Having a dog in your house makes it a home.”
In the interview Keane admitted as much as soccer has given him a fantastic life, his favourite sport to watch is hurling. He also explained that while he loves Manchester, his heart belongs to his hometown of Cork.
Keane urged more people to get involved to support Irish Guide Dogs. “There are lots of good causes out there but I would back Irish Guide dogs every day of the week. Just go for it; don’t hesitate. When I leave the Guide Dogs I always feel better about myself. The hardest part is trying to leave here without stealing a few puppies!”