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Frank Coughlan

At first it didn’t seem right for Roy Keane to be a grandpa. The tough man of football will always be engraved on our collective consciousness as the guy who specializes in life changing tackles and leaving football tournaments before they even start.

It seems like he only wore Marc Overmars yesterday thrown into the air at a big afternoon game in Lansdowne. When the Flying Dutchman returned to Terra Firma, both teams were back in the dressing room at halftime. Fine.

But while memories like this don’t age, everything else must. Roy, who is going to be a grandparent, is really perfectly understandable. Even acceptable.

I didn’t know until I checked if Cork’s favorite son (the place has a different favorite son for each day of the week) will be 50 next August. That Overmars Cruncher was 20 years ago.

With that in mind, I welcome him to the club. I’ve been a member for four years now and I highly recommend it.

All you have to do is show up when it suits you and let someone else do the heavy lifting.

Roy doesn’t have to be a captain. Make all tough decisions. Front up at a press conference when things get horribly chaotic.

Grandfathers can pamper and indulge; be the friend parents are not allowed to be. You can even admit that they are always carefully hidden. You can act sentimental and no one finds it least strange.

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That he couldn’t have that soft side. That he wasn’t the type of grandpa who snuggles up on the couch for a Disney marathon or builds sandcastles on the beach.

But that would be a mistake. This one-of-a-kind footballer has a lot more to offer than the sum of its tabloids.

Persistent and genetically predisposed to be contrary are traits he never wants to deny, but there is also a burning intelligence and penchant for dry humor that seems to have developed over time.

This is a man who has learned to appreciate life, and a grandchild is one of those gifts life gives you without expecting too much in return.

He seems like all footballers to one or the other say another time to be overjoyed.

Sharing a picture of his grandson on Instagram was his little way of presenting himself without making too much fuss.

The social media platform loved it back. Keano has amassed more than a million followers in no time. I suspect we will get updates from time to time. This man is beaten. He could be too.

As President of the Cork Grandfathers’ Association, I’ll sign Roy on the next transfer window. It will be the best move of his career.

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