Roy Keane had a strange conversation with Martin O'Neill after Ireland's victory over Italy

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Last night may have been the first time some people have ever seen Roy Keane smile.

The Ireland assistant manager is renowned for being Mr. Tough guy but Keane couldn’t help but smile when his country beat Italy in their Euro 2016 group stage fixture.

The win saw Ireland progress to the last-16 and Keane was clearly delighted at the final whistle.


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The Manchester United legend hugged manager Martin O’Neill at full-time and the pair were seen deep in conversation. Many must have just assumed they were congratulating each other but O’Neill has now revealed the strange conversation they had.

“I told him to shave his beard. It was rustling my chin and I don’t want him to hug me again ever,” he told reporters.

When asked what Keane replied, O’Neill added: “He said, ‘You are an ugly sod’, and I agreed wholeheartedly.

“I then retorted and said he wasn’t Paul Newman either.”

Their strange exchange was thankfully interrupted by Gianluigi Buffon who, being the gentleman he is, came over to congratulate the two men.

The Italian legend was being rested due to suffering from flu and O’Neill was very thankful for Buffon’s words.

“He was very complimentary, which was nice considering he’s been one of the great goalkeepers of all time,” he said.

“We were delighted to win the game and be part of that evening and it was genuinely special.

“We felt that we were part of that evening, one not to be forgotten.”

Ireland vs. France

It may be a night that won’t be forgotten, but Ireland can't dwell on it for too long ahead of their last-16 clash with France.

After Thursday’s heroic efforts, the boys in green face the hosts in Lyon on Sunday afternoon. It will be the first time the two countries have faced each other since the infamous World Cup qualifying play-off clash in 2009.

If you’re wondering why it was infamous, it was because Thierry Henry was guilty of a handball in the build-up to the goal that cost Ireland a place in the South Africa in 2010.

But O’Neill insists that this controversial match has been well and truly forgotten about.

He added: "The Thierry Henry [incident] is still probably causing some controversy - maybe more in France than it is in Ireland.

"I think we have decided to forget about it - that's something coming from Ireland. It will be a talking point obviously, but I don't think it will concern us when we play the game."

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Martin O’Neill
Wayne Rooney
Manchester United
Roy Keane
Euro 2016
Robbie Keane
Premier League

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