But if Keane’s differences with former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, his decision to turn down the job as Celtic manager and a clash with one-time team-mate Peter Schmeichel were among the topics dominating the sports news agenda, O’Neill was refusing to be side-tracked. He said: “The most important issue here are our games, and Saturday [the match against Gibraltar] is really, really important. We have come off the back of a great win against Georgia and it’s important to focus on that. “Whatever headline… let’s just say we came here and there hadn’t been a book – there would have been something else, seriously. “He [Keane] would have slipped down there on the field and we’d have been talking about that, maybe broken his leg or something like that. There would have been something. “There will always be something here in the lead-up to games, and that I can guarantee. “I genuinely don’t know what the headlines are in the book. It obviously was going to cause some sort of furore at some stage or another – the very fact he put his name to this book would suggest that it’s exactly what would happen. “It’s there and it doesn’t matter. The games are the most important things for us.” Asked if he had discussed the book with Keane in advance, O’Neill said: “I thought about it at one stage or another but then, why? He’s over 21 – I think – and he should be capable of dealing with his own stuff.” O’Neill, who asked Keane to join him in the Republic set-up when he was appointed in November last year, has had to become used to the focus he attracts ever since, with the approach from Celtic and Aston Villa’s subsequent successful attempt to appoint him as Paul Lambert’s assistant during the summer cases in point. However, while much of his own time in front of the media is spent fielding questions about his number two, he is adamant it is not an issue for him. “Not necessarily, not at all,” O’Neill said. “He’s an iconic figure. He’s been here for a long time – you know that. He was an absolutely fantastic footballer and now he’s making his way in management.” O’Neill was in relaxed mood as he was quizzed about Keane’s book, and even joked about the former Ireland captain’s burgeoning beard after recently jokingly questioning the sartorial elegance – or otherwise – of the Irish media pack. Asked if he would be having a word with the 43-year-old, he said: “Well I must admit, I might well do because he looks really bedraggled. There is no doubt at all about it but I think he wants to join your group, so I think that’s the essence of it.” Within the camp, the players too were taking all the fuss in their stride. Former United midfielder Darron Gibson said: “There have been a few comments, but nobody’s talking about it. The lads just get on with it. There have been a few jokes made around the table, but, like I said, nothing serious. “I have not seen any of the comments, to be honest with you, so I’m in no position to be comment on it. I’d rather not.” Asked if Keane is the type of assistant whose leg players can pull, Gibson replied with a smile: “I’ve not tried. I’ll let you try first.” Meanwhile, O’Neill has called 20-year-old Hull defender Brian Lenihan into his squad after losing Seamus Coleman, as well as Shay Given and James McCarthy, due to injury for the double-header. Press Association The Ireland boss met the media in Malahide on Tuesday lunchtime after he and Keane had put the players through their paces for the first time since they met up ahead of the qualifiers against Gibraltar and Germany. However, they did so with the younger man once again making the headlines after copies of his book The Second Half were mistakenly put on sale briefly on Monday ahead of Thursday’s official launch. Martin O’Neill has insisted the furore surrounding the launch of assistant Roy Keane’s updated autobiography will not distract the Republic of Ireland from their Euro 2016 mission.
Published on February 19, 2019 at 10:56 pm Contact Eric: email@example.com Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Two Harvard players watched from the sideline as their teammate, Rachel Lim, took on No. 67 Miranda Ramirez on Sunday afternoon. Ramirez easily took the first set 6-1.“This girl is sick,” one remarked to the other.Ramirez went on to win in straight sets on a slicing shot to the corner. The junior from Texas moved to 7-3 on the season for No. 19 Syracuse (6-4, 0-2 Atlantic Coast), including victories over No. 52 Jessica Failla (Pepperdine) and then-No. 36 Chiara Lommer (Michigan). With Sofya Golubovskaya dealing with a shoulder issue, per head coach Younes Limam, Ramirez played the past weekend at second singles for the first time this season. She went 2-0 in the stretch, including a pair of three-game comebacks.“Miranda’s been playing at a very high level,” Limam said. “… Freshman year, I think, she did play (first singles) most of her freshman year. So we know she can play at that level.”Ramirez credited her ability to adjust to different styles for her recent success. Limam said it’s been about her court positioning. She’s been more of an aggressive baseliner and has been finishing points at the net, Limam said. Ramirez’s serve has also improved, giving her “free points.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOn Sunday, Ramirez faced Lim, a lefty. Ramirez was given an opportunity to use her one-handed backhand more. Gabriela Knutson said she can’t hit Ramirez’s backhand “at all” and Ramirez’s former coach, Thomas Finck, called Ramirez’s “money shot.” Ramirez has seen so many lefties in her career, pivoting to her go-to stroke is routine.“It’s always a slightly different game when I play against a lefty,” Ramirez said. “… I was able to adjust right off the bat, and it didn’t faze me at all.”Ramirez started the spring season unranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings while Knutson sat at No. 43, and Golubovskaya came in at No. 92. In the Feb. 6 iteration, Ramirez climbed to No. 67 while Knutson fell to No. 48, and Golubovskaya fell out of the top 125.Ramirez, who finished with Knutson as No. 8 in the Oracle/ITA Doubles Final Rankings, is used to the spotlight. Last year, the pair earned All-American honors in doubles. The pair has not been as dominant this season at 6-3, with one match that was left unfinished. Knutson said she believed their match against Purdue on Jan. 27 was on of the best of their careers. But they lost 7-5.With Ramirez thriving in singles, though, the duo may be just beginning their ascent again after a dominant 6-2 win against Harvard. Their shared history has led them to believe that it’s only a matter of time before the wins in doubles come. As Syracuse rebounds from its four-match losing streak, Ramirez’s play will be crucial.“So extremely proud of her,” Limam said. “… She’s been playing extremely well for a while now, so good to see.”