O'Neill delighted to lead Republic

Martin O'Neill could not turn down the opportunity to manage the Republic of Ireland.

Last Updated: 06/11/13 at 15:34 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Steven Caulker joins Southampton on season-long loan

Post comment

Southampton have signed QPR defender Steven Caulker on a season-long loan.

Brentford midfielder Jonathan Douglas has been told his time at the club is over

Post comment

Brentford midfielder Jonathan Douglas has been told his time at the club is over by new boss Marinus Dijkhuizen.

All Articles

The 61-year-old Northern Irishman and number two Roy Keane each signed initial two-year deals on Tuesday evening as the Football Association of Ireland's search for a replacement for Giovanni Trapattoni finally drew to a close.

O'Neill, the FAI's top target, took his time over the decision to accept its offer of employment, but ultimately could not pass it up.

He told Sky Sports News: "It's a privilege to do it. You know, a job like this may not come round again for quite some considerable time.

"The Republic of Ireland have had some success - Jack Charlton was great, Mick McCarthy excellent, and Trapattoni did very, very well indeed, and all stayed in the job for quite a number of years, so that opportunity might not be afforded to anyone in the foreseeable future."

O'Neill and Keane will get straight down to work next week when the players meet up ahead of friendlies against Latvia and Poland.

However, the longer-term aim is qualification for the Euro 2016 finals - a process which will begin in September next year.

Ireland, of course, went to Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine under Trapattoni, but they parted company with the 74-year-old Italian in September after successive defeats by Sweden and Austria left their hopes of securing their passage to next summer's World Cup finals in Brazil in tatters with two games still to play.

O'Neill is ware of what is expected of himself, Keane and their players, but is relishing the task ahead.

He said: "I am sure that the players will be very positive. I think, generally speaking, they want to play for their country anyway, regardless of who is the manager.

"There will be some expectation too, but I think we can live with that."

O'Neill's decision to recruit Keane as his number two raised eyebrows when it was first mooted, not least because of the former Republic skipper's frosty relationship with the FAI and its chief executive John Delaney in the wake of his unscheduled departure from the 2002 World Cup finals squad in Saipan.

However, the former Wycombe, Norwich, Leicester, Celtic, Aston Villa and Sunderland boss is convinced that is history.

He said: "It's been a long, long time. I know that I have spoken to John Delaney - John Delaney is very, very pleased indeed that Roy is coming on board.

"Roy is naturally delighted himself and I think, going forward, everything should be fine."

The pair will head for the dugout at the Aviva Stadium for the first time next Friday evening when the Latvians visit Dublin, and will then travel to Poznan and their clash with the Poles four days later.


New Sky Bet customers: Claim free £5 bet every week


Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Footer 365

Real reopen talks over £28m De Gea deal

Real Madrid have reportedly reopened negotiations with Manchester United over David de Gea and may complete a deal in the coming days.

Muller has a job for life at Bayern

Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge feels that Thomas Muller 'will never leave ' Bayern Munich and has offered the forward a job for life at the club.

Jose Mourinho: Rafael Benitez destroyed Inter Milan and his wife should take care of his diet

Jose Mourinho has hit back at Rafael Benitez’s wife, saying her husband 'destroyed' Inter Milan and she should take care of his diet.

Mail Box

Mails: Let's Talk About Jose's Failures...

We don't talk about them because Chelsea won the title...but imagine if LVG or Brendan Rodgers had signed Juan Cuadrado. Plus, a trawl through the squads...

Di Maria Just Didn't Fit (S**t Happens)

If a signing doesn't work there doesn't have to be a massive witch hunt. So there. Plus a detailed net spend rant, Breel Embolo, computer games and Louis van Gaal...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company