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Ireland: O'Neill and Keane leave after Nations League relegation

Republic of Ireland were relegated in the Nations League, and Martin O'Neill has subsequently opted to step down as manager.

FILE PHOTO: Former Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane and manager Martin O'Neill at Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland - Oct 16, 2018. Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley/File Photo
John SibleyAction Images via Reuters

Martin O'Neill has stepped down from his role as manager of the Republic of Ireland following UEFA Nations League relegation.

O'Neill and assistant Roy Keane leave Ireland dugout

Ireland appointed O'Neill in November 2013 and he was joined by Roy Keane as assistant, with the former Manchester United captain also losing his job on Wednesday.

Initially the pair made a strong impact and guided Ireland to Euro 2016, where they managed to get through as one of the best third-place finishers in a group containing Sweden, Belgium and Italy, eventually losing out in the last 16 to hosts and eventual finalists France.

But they failed to qualify for the World Cup and then endured a miserable start to life in the Nations League, ultimately getting relegated from Group B4 with just two points from four matches against Wales and Denmark.

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) president Donal Conway applauded O'Neill and Keane for their contribution.

"On behalf of the FAI Board, I would like to thank Martin, Roy, and the management team for their work with the Republic of Ireland team over the last five years," he said in a statement on the FAI website.

"Martin ensured that we enjoyed some great nights in the Aviva Stadium and on the road in Lille, Vienna, and Cardiff, which were fantastic high points for Irish football."

Denmark draw confirmed Nations League relegation this week

It was against the Danes that Ireland's World Cup qualification campaign ended embarrassingly in November last year, as they were trounced 5-1 at home in the second leg of the play-offs having previously secured a 0-0 draw away from home.

That defeat was the start of a run of just one win - 2-1 in a friendly against United States - in 10 matches, the most recent outing being another 0-0 stalemate away to Denmark on Monday, sealing their fate in UEFA's new competition.

While O'Neill has received criticism for his selections and tactics, Keane – a volatile figure as a player – has been accused of clashing with multiple players during his time in the set-up.

The pair have long been considered under pressure and Wednesday's announcement of their departure will not come as a huge surprise.

Goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh and assistant coach Steve Guppy have also left.


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