Duo in line for Ireland job

Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane look set to be confirmed as the new Republic of Ireland coaching team by Saturday. Martin O’Neill had been strongly linked with the job over the last few months and it now seems close to being finalised.

Since leaving Sunderland, O’Neill has been without a job and the prospect of his arrival excites FAI chief executive John Delaney “Irish football and our country is bigger than anything. Two icons of Irish football can work together with us. I just hope everybody gets behind us. This is a team effort.”
O'Neill left Sunderland just a point above the relegation zone. (Image courtesy of Match Photography; no copyright intended)

O’Neill left Sunderland just a point above the relegation zone.
(Image courtesy of Match Photography; no copyright intended)

There has been much said in the media about Keane’s relationship with the FAI and John Delaney in particular. Despite winning 67 caps for Ireland, Roy Keane is remembered by most Irish fans for the wrong reasons. The now infamous Saipan incident is still talked about in Ireland to this day and unsurprisingly it has popped up again. In 2002 Roy Keane stormed out of the Ireland World Cup training camp in Saipan after a row with then manager Mick McCarthy over inadequate training facilities. He also critcised the Irish FA and left a bitter taste among many Ireland supporters.

After a successful meeting with Roy about the assistant managers job, Delaney said “The meeting was absolutely brilliant from my point of view and I think from his as well. It was all about the future, not about the past.”

Martin O’Neill has managed at Wycombe, Norwich, Leicester, Celtic, Aston Villa and Sunderland. This could prove to be one of his toughest tests as a manager and optimism amongst Ireland fans seems at an all time low. The new managerial team might instil belief in the national team again and hopefully will create more of a buzz around the Irish footballing scene.

Jamie Connor

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