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MARTIN O’NEILL’S five-year reign as Ireland manager is over after he agreed to step down from his role this morning.
The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) announced yesterday morning that they had parted company with the 66-year-old by mutual consent after a dreadful run of form that has seen his team win just once in nine matches during 2018.
O’Neill’s departure, along with those of assistant Roy Keane, goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh and assistant coach Steve Guppy, was confirmed in an FAI statement two days after Ireland ended a deeply disappointing first Nations League campaign with a 0-0 draw in Denmark.
The Derryman, who replaced Italian Giovanni Trapattoni at the helm in November 2013, took charge in 55 games and capped 65 players during his tenure, 28 of them for the first time.
He guided Ireland to Euro 2016, a run which included a famous victory over world champions Germany, and they beat Italy to reach the last 16 in France.
Ireland also came within 90 minutes of this year’s World Cup finals, only to be beaten 5-1 in the second leg of their play-off against Denmark in November last year after raising hopes with a battling 0-0 draw in Copenhagen.
The Denmark drubbing in Dublin signalled the start of a downward spiral which had thrown O’Neill’s continued presence into doubt in recent months. Since they beat Wales 1-0 in Cardiff to book their play-off berth, they have won only one of 11 games — a 2-1 friendly victory over the United States in June which was clinched with a last-gasp winner.
Perhaps more worryingly, they have not scored a single goal in 397 minutes — approaching seven hours — of football amid growing dismay over the perceived negativity of O’Neill’s approach.
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