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Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill appointed MBE

The former Shamrock Rovers manager has had his exploits with Northern Ireland recognised in the New Year Honours.

 Michael O'Neill guided his Northern Ireland side to the second round of Euro 2016.
Michael O'Neill guided his Northern Ireland side to the second round of Euro 2016.

NORTHERN IRELAND MANAGER Michael O’Neill has been appointed MBE for “services to football and the community in Northern Ireland.”

The 47-year-old, who guided Northern Ireland to the knock-out stage of the European Championship in 2016, expressed surprise at receiving recognition in the New Year Honours, but said that it was “a proud day” for him and his family.

The Armagh native also emphasised that the award was recognition of the achievements of the Northern Ireland team and the Irish Football Association (IFA).

It’s fantastic and totally unexpected to be honest,” O’Neill told theirishfa.com. “In many ways I am just getting the recognition for what the team and the association have achieved in recent years.

“It’s not only about the past year and the Euros, its about the completion of the new stadium and the team doing well, it’s recognition of all that. I am just the fortunate person that gets to pick up an award.

“My oldest daughter thought it was a prank to begin with when the letter arrived!” continued the former Shamrock Rovers boss.

My family are very proud and my family back in Northern Ireland are very proud as well. In many ways it hasn’t really sunk in yet, but it’s lovely when you get recognition – it is a proud day for me and all my family.”

O’Neill is now considered to be a ‘Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’ and follows in the footsteps of Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill, who was appointed OBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 2004.

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