Sunday 24 September 2017

FAI delays unveiling of new duo to avoid Fergie clash

Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

THE FAI's announcement of Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane as the new Ireland managerial team is to be scheduled to avoid a clash with an Alex Ferguson event in Dublin.

The former Manchester United boss is to appear at a sell-out event in the National Convention Centre in Dublin to promote his autobiography.

Reports suggest the ink is all but dry on a deal with O'Neill and Keane, who will be installed at the helm of the Irish squad replacing Giovanni Trapattoni.

The unveiling of the pair has been delayed because both O'Neill and Keane have television commitments in their role as pundits.

They will be providing analysis for ITV on the Manchester United v Real Sociedad game tonight in San Sebastian.

While an announcement today has not been ruled out, it would be tomorrow or Thursday before the two could be presented to the media as the new Irish management team.

CLASH

Sources at the FAI said they did not want their announcement to clash with Ferguson's high-profile visit to Dublin.

Ferguson appears at the Convention Centre as part of the promotion of his newly published book 'My Autobiography', already a bestseller on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Indication of the huge interest in Ferguson's book here is that all of 2,700 tickets to the event were sold in just 18 minutes.

Ferguson pulled few punches when describing his relationship with Keane in his autobiography.

Meanwhile, RTE broadcasting legends Micheal O Muircheartaigh and Jimmy Magee are among those who gave ringing endorsements of the imminent appointment of O'Neill and Keane.

O Muircheartaigh said: "Both O'Neill and Roy Keane are big names and big appointments . . . when the first game comes they will fill the Aviva to capacity."

Jimmy Magee said O'Neill and Keane had been his number one and number two choice respectively. They were speaking at the launch of the book 'The GAA and Radio Eireann 1926-2010', which chronicles the story of GAA commentary.

Sport: pages 66, 67 & 68

Irish Independent

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