Mick McCarthy has the final say on Saipan incident 1 year ago

Mick McCarthy has the final say on Saipan incident

"So, if people want to talk about that, good luck, I won't be answering any more questions about that."

It only took 10 minutes for Mick McCarthy to be asked about Saipan.

In his first press conference as the new Republic of Ireland manager, McCarthy was asked about the infamous incident that took place before the 2002 World Cup, during his previous stint as national team manager.

McCarthy and Roy Keane, the team's captain, had a furious bust-up on the eve of the tournament. Keane left the squad and Ireland was divided over the issue.

All these years later, Saipan is still closely associated with both men. In Dublin on Sunday, McCarthy was asked if it was important to "move past" the incident.

"Why? What happened there? My memory’s gone as well the last 16 years," he joked.

The former Ipswich Town manager went on to say that his career, and Keane's career, shouldn't be defined by the incident.

He praised Keane's ability as a footballer and said that he wouldn't be speaking any further on the issue which divided Irish football.

"I honestly believe that both my career and Roy's career shouldn’t be remembered or shouldn't be determined by that.

"Because (we) both had successful playing careers, him an unbelievable one, far better than me. And I've had a pretty successful career as a manager.

"I'd like to be remembered for that, and I think Roy, in Ireland, should be remembered for what a wonderful player he was. And for the fact that when we got to Saipan, he was a big part of that, instrumental.

"I have the utmost respect for him for that. So, if people want to talk about that, good luck, I won't be answering any more questions about that."

Later in the press conference, McCarthy was asked if he would contact his predecessor Martin O'Neill, and his former assistant Keane, for advice on the Ireland job.

The former Sunderland manager said he wouldn't, and he will make up his own mind on the players at his disposal.

"I might let that sit for a while," he said.

"I'm old enough and wise enough to make my own assessments. I've done it with players in the past when I've been scouting players. I ring somebody up for an opinion and maybe I haven't signed them because of that opinion when maybe I should have done - I've been put off.

"I'll be looking at the games gone past and I'll be watching our opponents as soon as I know who they are. I know he will be, Martin will be feeling a bit raw, so I'll leave him alone.

"You're probably right. I won't be speaking to Roy. "

The draw for the Euro 2020 qualifiers is in Dublin next Sunday, where McCarthy will discover the identity of his first opponents in his second stint as Ireland boss.