Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Cathal Noonan/INPHO O'Neill is committed to the Irish job, according to John Delaney.
# Vote of Confidence
'I would give Martin O'Neill another 2 years in the job because he knows what he has to do'
Packie Bonner is in no doubt that the former Celtic boss is the right man for the job.

PACKIE BONNER BELIEVES Martin O’Neill remains the right man to steer Ireland in the right direction despite a faltering start to his tenure.

The Boys in Green face an uphill task to qualify for Euro 2016 after a string of disappointing results with no indication that O’Neill has been able to galvanise the squad and reverse the side’s fortunes.

There was speculation last week that O’Neill would walk out on the job to take up the vacant managerial position at Leicester City.

As it turned out, the Premier League club’s hierarchy appointed Italian Claudio Raneiri as their next manager and John Delaney insists O’Neill never contemplated jumping ship.

Speaking in Dublin to launch his annual Golf Classic in aid of Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland, Bonner says O’Neill should be given another two years as he needs time in the job.

“If Leicester or Celtic came up tomorrow, Martin would always be linked with it because they were the clubs he had success at and people remember him there,” the former Ireland goalkeeper said.

“I would like to see Martin stay for another two years, it’s not good for managers to change often. He knows the squad, he knows what he has to do to improve the squad and get the best out of those players but it will always be down to Martin.

Packie Bonner Golf Classic Launch Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE Bonner with golfer Sean Dunne at Tuesday's launch in Dublin. Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE / SPORTSFILE

“But it’s up to him. I’m not telling the FAI what to do but I would like to see any manager given a four-year term.”

Ireland currently sit in fourth place in Group D, two points behind Scotland who occupy the playoff berth.

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O’Neill’s side face Gibraltar in September but the real challenges follow a month later with fixtures against Germany and Poland.

It’s looking increasingly likely that Ireland will be watching proceedings in France from afar next summer and Bonner admits it’s difficult to envisage the national team returning to the heights of bygone years any time soon.

“It’s going to take a monumental change to be honest,” he says of Ireland’s chances of returning to the biggest stage. ”Because then [1990] it was different – players we’re playing with big clubs, there was a huge group of quality players and we were challenging at the top level.

“I would love to see it for the younger generation but the sporting landscape has changed – rugby has grown and there are sports around now that weren’t played when I was growing up.

“But that’s the challenge for the FAI and they have to make sure whatever they do they put 100% effort into and it’s the right thing to do.”

The 2015 Packie Bonner Golf Classic, in aid of Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland, takes place on Friday 21st of August in Palmerstown House Estate Golf Club in Naas, Co. Kildare. Contact for team bookings and sponsorship opportunities, to help raise vital funds for this very worthy cause.

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