O'Neill's dramatic year . . .
Published 13/05/2015 | 02:30
May 2014 - The summer gathering is interrupted by speculation about Roy Keane's future and an offer from Celtic throws open the real possibility that the dream team will split up without overseeing a competitive match together
Keane spurns Celtic's advances but accepts an offer to take over as assistant manager at Aston Villa where he will work with a young Jack Grealish.
Ireland start their campaign with an opening win over Georgia but Grealish rejects the opportunity to train with the group before the preceding friendly with Oman and says he is taking a year out.
The Keane roadshow dominates the build-up to the games with Gibraltar and Germany after the release of his book and the associated publicity but no damage is done as Ireland finish up with four points.
Another Keane story hangs over the group following an altercation with a member of the public in the Portmarnock hotel before the trip to Scotland ends in defeat. The Corkman lashes out when it's suggested that he is becoming a distraction, and is also critical of Grealish's father and Everton manager Roberto Martinez. Keane leaves his Villa post amid reports of training ground disagreements.
Ahead of the Euro qualifer with Poland, Grealish says that he is preparing to return to the green jersey in September yet it's subsequently suggested that his intentions are to play for the U21 side again in order to keep his English options open. Ireland nick a late draw against Poland.
Grealish is propelled to stardom by an astounding display for Aston Villa against Liverpool in an FA Cup semi- final win at Wembley, an unfortunate development for O'Neill as days earlier he'd offered the view that the Scotland game in June would come too soon.
Confident that the 19-year-old is the man for the here and now, O'Neill makes a move to add the youth to his squad for next month but is rebuffed despite FAI confidence that Grealish was ready to report for training ahead of the England game in June without making a definitive call on his long term allegiances.