Martin O'Neill hails fantastic qualification campaign ahead of Euro 2016 draw
Published 11/12/2015 | 13:31
Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill will be hoping history does not repeat itself at the draw for the Euro 2016 finals in Paris on Saturday.
The Republic suffered a nightmare draw in their last appearance at a major finals in Poland and Ukraine in 2012, and exited the tournament without a point.
On that occasion Giovanni Trapattoni's side found themselves up against Spain, Italy and Croatia and there is potential for a broadly similar outcome this time round.
O'Neill's men will come out of pool four, the same pool as Wales and Northern Ireland, meaning they cannot find themselves in the same group as their neighbours.
O'Neill will probably not be too despondent over the possibility of drawing Germany among the top seeds, having beaten and drawn with the world champions during the qualifying campaign.
The Italians are certainly the team to be avoided in a varied pool two, while Poland are probably the strongest of the pool three sides.
O'Neill reflected on his side's qualifying campaign this week during the award of the 2015 Sports Manager of the Year jointly with his Northern Ireland counterpart Michael O'Neill.
O'Neill said: "I felt with four games left we were still in the group and I don't think it was really bravado.
"We had to win our games either at home to Germany or away to Poland but we knew it was possible. The players came through and they have been fantastic."