Martin O'Neill resigns as Republic of Ireland manager 'with a heavy heart'

Wed, Nov 21 2018

O'Neill and (from left) Roy Keane, Steve Guppy and Seamus McDonagh have all left their roles. Credit: Michael P Ryan

Martin O’Neill’s five-year reign as Republic of Ireland manager has come to an end after he left his position by mutual consent on Wednesday.

Assistant manager Roy Keane, goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh and coach Steve Guppy have also parted company with the national team.

O’Neill’s resignation follows Monday’s scoreless draw in Denmark that saw Ireland finish the calendar year without a competitive win and relegated from UEFA Nations League B.

The Derryman oversaw 55 games for Ireland, beginning almost exactly five years ago in a 3-0 friendly win over Latvia.

He memorably led the team to qualification for Euro 2016 in France in his first year, beating world champions Germany to seal a play-off place.

Ireland beat Bosnia 3-1 on aggregate to seal a place in the finals, where victory over Italy saw them into the last 16, where they lost narrowly to hosts France in Lyon.

He led Ireland to another play-off for the 2018 World Cup after finishing second to Serbia in qualifying, but a 5-1 home defeat to Denmark in the second leg saw the Boys in Green miss out.

"I have had the great honour of managing the Republic of Ireland National football team for the past five years and it is with a heavy heart that I leave this role," O'Neill said in a statement.

"It was one of my lifetime ambitions to take charge of the Irish Senior squad and I would like to thank the FAI Board for giving me that opportunity.”

Martin O’Neill statement in full:

I have had the great honour of managing the Republic of Ireland National football team for the past five years and it is with a heavy heart that I leave this role.

It was one of my lifetime ambitions to take charge of the Irish Senior squad and I would like to thank the FAI Board for giving me that opportunity.

I will not forget the night in Lille when we beat Italy to secure the nation's best ever achievement in the Euros competition, the terrific night we beat the World Champions Germany at home in Dublin, or James McClean's goal in that euphoric win against Wales in Cardiff that put us through to the play-offs for this year's World Cup.

The Irish fans have been a source of motivation to myself, the team and the whole backroom staff, embodying the passionate Irish spirit, and I thank them for their fervent support of the team.

I am also very proud of the relationships I have built with the players, who have carried that very same spirit, imbued by the fans, onto the field of play.

A special thanks to Roy Keane my assistant, an inspirational figure in the world of football, Seamus McDonagh, Steve Guppy and Steve Walford for their brilliant contributions and to those backroom staff at the FAI that were of enormous help to me.

Knowing that the past year would be a transitional phase for the squad, I have capped twelve new players in the last nine games, with the aim that they become significant international contributors in the coming campaign.

To the players, I reserve great praise and admiration for the phenomenal commitment they have shown whilst wearing the Irish shirt.

Having had these great experiences in my spell as the Irish international manager, I am looking forward to my next adventure in football.