Martin O’Neill ‘interested in Ireland job’

Ex NI international tops list of early contenders to replace Giovanni Trapattoni

Former Northern Ireland international Martin O’Neill tops a list of early contenders to replace Trapattoni. Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Former Northern Ireland international Martin O’Neill tops a list of early contenders to replace Trapattoni. Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

 



Martin O’Neill is apparently keen to speak with the FAI about a certain vacancy in their coaching department. But the former Northern Ireland international may have to wait a while as the association insisted yesterday that its board has not even considered yet how Giovanni Trapattoni’s successor is to be recruited.

The Italian departed his post yesterday along with his assistant Marco Tardelli and fitness coach Fausto (or Franco, as he is referred to in the association’s statement) Rossi and a combined pay off estimated to have been in the region of €450,000. Trapattoni and Tardelli met the association’s chief executive John Delaney as well as its president, Paddy McCaul, and honorary secretary, Michael Cody, at 9.30am yesterday in Dublin airport, just hours after they had returned, with the players, from Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat by Austria in Vienna, a result that all but seals Ireland’s elimination from the World Cup qualifiers.

Audio: Paddy Agnew on Trapattoni's departure

Mr Delaney said later that there had been “a lot of emotion in the room”, but a few hours later when Tardelli, who had previously expressed a desire to succeed Trapattoni, was asked for his reaction to the events as he was returning home to London he said simply: “That’s life. We had nearly six years in the job and it was a great time.”

Trapattoni flew out of Dublin himself in the early afternoon and his parting words came in a statement issued through the association. “I want to thank everyone in Ireland who has given us their support during our time here which has always meant a lot to us,” he said. “We leave this country with emotion because we understand the Irish supporters who have a well-deserved international reputation and they have our utmost respect.”

O’Neill tops a list of early contenders to replace him that also includes the likes of Mick McCarthy, Chris Hughton and even Roy Keane. Both O’Neill and Keane, who are currently out of management, are understood to be interested but the association, anxious to avoid a backlash if the wrong man is appointed, seemed to be gearing up to stretch things out a little last night despite the fact that the team has two qualifying games next month that are still of some significance.

“We will sit down over the next week or so (Monday or Tuesday seems likely) and look at the process in terms of appointing a new manager,” said Delaney, who confirmed that businessman Denis O’Brien will continue to part-fund the manager’s salary for at least the next two years.