Cian Healy says Roy Keane did not address Ireland squad during training visit

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Veteran prop Cian Healy revealed Ireland’s players were not treated to a motivational speech from former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane during his visit to their training base in Portugal.

Ex-Ireland captain Keane was one of three high-profile visitors to watch Andy Farrell’s men train on Wednesday, alongside One Direction singer Niall Horan and major golf champion Padraig Harrington.

The 52-year-old pundit, who has previously been a guest speaker for his country’s rugby stars, was pictured chatting with Ireland skipper Johnny Sexton in the Algarve.

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However, on this occasion, he did not address the full squad.

Ireland's prop Cian HealyIreland's prop Cian Healy
Ireland's prop Cian Healy

“I have no idea what he was doing there, to be honest,” said Healy.

“He wasn’t in camp, he was at the side of the pitch watching training. I didn’t get to chat to him, I was training.

“Some of the lads that already had done their part of the session would have said hello or whatever.

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“But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a scheduled thing and he was just on holiday here or whatever and showed up for a look.”

Head coach Farrell is putting his preliminary 42-man World Cup squad, which is missing only the injured Jack Conan, through their paces ahead of cutting it down to a final 33 following warm-up clashes with England and Samoa.

Healy warned peripheral players they will not secure a seat on the plane to France by trying to be “the hero”.

“There’s going to be a lot of players looking to put their hand up,” he said.

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“How to do that is to play our game and play how we play to the best of your ability.

“You don’t get picked by being the hero and going out and trying to do something fantastic because the percentage of that coming off is pretty low.

“I’m just looking forward to seeing everyone getting their chance and I suppose how they buy into what we’re doing and what stamp they can put on it themselves.”

Healy moved level with Rory Best as Ireland’s third most capped player during a try-scoring cameo in Saturday’s 33-17 win over Italy in Dublin.

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The 35-year-old, who has played 124 Test matches, is preparing for his fourth and potentially final World Cup.

He is almost certain to be in Farrell’s final selection as loosehead back-up to Leinster team-mate Andrew Porter and is enjoying the build up to this year’s tournament, with players not “dying” to escape camp.

“It’s a great buzz, a really good camp to be in,” he said. “A lot of fun, a lot of time together on and off the pitch, especially over here (in Portugal).

“We’ve got nice time in the afternoon to spend a bit of time with the group and break off to spend a bit of time with families as well.

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“We have had it before where you do the six-week block and people are dying to get out of camp for a couple of days or dying to go for a pint or something. You’re living in a hotel and that’s how life is.

“This has been managed really well in the sense that no one feels overloaded by time away.”