Martin O’Neill to stay with Republic of Ireland for 2018 World Cup

Rest of management team also agree deals with FAI on eve of departure to France

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill with assistant coach Roy Keane  and coach Steve Walford during a training session at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill with assistant coach Roy Keane and coach Steve Walford during a training session at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

Martin O’Neill and his Republic of Ireland management team have finally committed to another campaign with the northerner, Roy Keane and the rest of the backroom staff finalising the terms of their various contracts for the World Cup 2018 on the eve of the squad’s departure for France.

The manager said that he was “delighted” to sign up for another two years, describing, as he has done many times, the opportunity to do the job as a “privilege,” and insisting that he is relishing the challenge of the next few weeks and then, beyond that, of the bid to secure a place in Russia.

It is believed that he and the rest of the management team have secured significant pay rises to stay on. O’Neill was been on €1 million for the last couple of years with Keane earning about €300,000. Businessman Denis O’Brien has funded about 70 per cent of that €1.3 million combined wage bill and it is not clear at this stage what his contribution will be to the new deal.

The pair, along with staff members Steve Guppy, Seamus McDonagh and Steve Walford, are to remain in post for a further two years.

O’Neill said: “I am delighted that John Delaney and the FAI board have extended our contracts for the World Cup campaign.

“It has been an absolute privilege to have been in charge of the Republic of Ireland national team these last 30 months, and we go to France tomorrow in good spirits with a strong desire to do well in the next few weeks.

“The players have done brilliantly in the campaign so far and they are ready for the big challenges ahead.”

Talks over retaining the services of a management team which has been in place since November 2013 have been ongoing for some time and O’Neill has remained relaxed throughout.

But the news will come as a relief to those who feared the lure of a return to club management could tempt one, if not both, of the men who have formed an unlikely, but so far successful, partnership.

Even before Ireland saw off Bosnia-Herzegovina in a two-legged play-off to clinch their ticket for the Euros, there was an appetite to build upon the foundations which had been put in place, and Delaney was delighted to have tied up the 64-year-old manager and his 44-year-old sidekick.

Delaney said: “I am delighted we have agreed terms with Martin and his team of Roy Keane, Steve Guppy, Seamus McDonagh and Steve Walford.

“The board of the FAI were unanimous in offering Martin and his full management team a renewal of their contracts.

“Since Martin has taken over, we have achieved the objective of qualifying for the Euros and he has led the project in helping to develop some of the emerging talents in Irish football, including Robbie Brady and Shane Duffy, right up to the recent introduction of Callum O’Dowda, who made his senior debut last week.

“I am delighted to have worked with Martin and his team through qualification for the Euros, and I and all of the staff in the association look forward to working with them into the future.”

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