MARTIN O’NEILL has been confirmed as manager of the Irish national team with Roy Keane named as his assistant.
O’Neill is understood to have penned a two-year deal. The FAI are believed to have agreed a package of over €2million for the Derryman and his backroom team; former Ireland captain Keane will work as his second-in-command while Steve Walford, Steve Guppy and Seamus McDonagh are also expected to be named in the staff.
“Today, the FAI Board is appointing two Irish legends as manager and assistant manager of our national team and I wish them every success in their roles,” FAI chief executive John Delaney said in a statement tonight.
“Martin and Roy will have the next 10 months to prepare and shape the squad for the challenge of EURO 2016 qualification which starts in September 2014. The appointment would not have been possible were it not for Denis O’Brien’s continued and immensely generous support, and on behalf of the FAI Board, we thank him sincerely for his help in delivering a management team of this quality. I would also like to thank Dermot Desmond for his very influential role in facilitating this appointment.”
O’Neill was regarded as the FAI’s first choice to replace Giovanni Trapattoni and became the overwhelming favourite for the job after the Italian left the post back in September.
However, the former Sunderland, Aston Villa and Celtic boss looked less certain to take over when the association tasked Ray Houghton and Ruud Dokter with interviewing candidates and drawing up a list of recommendations for the board of management.
Speculation suggested O’Neill was holding out for a suitable Premier League club to become vacant and met with Crystal Palace representatives in the aftermath of Ian Holloway’s exit while Mick McCarthy was being heavily tipped for a return to the international set-up.
That changed late last week when it was widely reported that O’Neill would be willing to come on board and also wanted Keane as his number two.
With a friendly game against Latvia at the Aviva Stadium next Friday, 15 November, before the squad travels to Poznan to take on Poland four days later, the new management team will have already begun their work ahead of training in Dublin next week.