Roy Keane praises League of Ireland influence

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The Boys in Green assistant manager was pleased to see the SSE Airtricity League promoted at Euro 2016 and said that it played a "huge part" in his career

Roy Keane was happy to see the League of Ireland being acknowledged in a photoshoot involving current Republic of Ireland internationals, stressing that it has played "a big part" in the development of a number of players' careers.

Photos of the eight members of Ireland's Euro 2016 squad wearing the jerseys of their former clubs were circulating on social media on Tuesday, with the Football Association of Ireland tweeting: "The homegrown heroes doing Ireland proud at #EURO2016."

The 'homegrown heroes' in question are James McClean (Derry City), Seamus Coleman (Sligo Rovers), Stephen Ward (Bohemians) Stephen Quinn (St Patrick's Athletic), Daryl Murphy (Waterford United), Wes Hoolahan (Shelbourne), David Meyler and Shane Long (both Cork City).

Keane, who also began his career in the League of Ireland - playing for Cobh Ramblers before joining Nottingham Forest - said that the photos were "brilliant" and a reminder of importance of the domestic league. 

"That was really nice, it was a nice picture," the former Manchester United captain told reporters. 

"We know over the years that people have been quick to criticise League of Ireland football, but it has played a huge part in my career. 

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"And you saw yesterday with the photo - what was it six, seven lads? Brilliant. It was nice to see. [There were] no [Cobh] Ramblers players there, but it was really good.

"Credit to the players and, again, for the criticism that the League of Ireland gets, it's played a big part in these lads having a very, very good career and it was nice to see that."

Ireland take on Belgium at Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux on Saturday June 18.

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