Martin O’Neill: ‘If I couldn’t face criticism, I wouldn’t be in this job’

Republic of Ireland manager reflects on a 50-year career that started with GAA in Derry

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

He is, he strongly suggests with so much of what he says, a product of his past. The upbringing in Kilrea, the town of 2,000 or so near Derry’s Antrim border, his family, education and sport – the enduring love that became his livelihood.

Nearly 50 years after Martin O’Neill embarked on a professional career that has included some remarkable highs both as a player and manager, however, he still describes himself as “steeped” in the game he left behind.

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