Thursday 17 October 2019

'Gutted to see gaffer gone' - players point to good times

James McClean Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
James McClean Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Players and fans have thanked former Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and assistant Roy Keane for their time at the helm of the team.

There was near universal praise for the highs the pair brought to Irish football fans over the past five years. Many also accepted it seemed their time had come to an end after a difficult year.

Winger James McClean was among the first out of the blocks to thank O'Neill as he recounted some of their best moments. "Gutted to see the gaffer gone," he tweeted. "Qualifying for Euros beating Germany, last 16 at the Euros, beating Italy, within one game of qualifying for World Cup being 4th seeds."

Jonathan Walters was also full of praise. "I didn't expect Martin to leave as manager. Although we've had a very difficult year in terms of results, I'll balance that with the amount of players that have just started their international career," he said.

On the You Boys in Green supporters' page, many pointed the finger at the FAI for the problems.

"I just wonder who everyone who wants Martin O'Neill out thinks could be our next manager. We are very devoid of talent at the moment. He got us to the World Cup play-offs out of a difficult group," one fan said.

That view was reflected in comments by the pundit Chris Sutton, who played under O'Neill at Celtic. "Sad to see Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane leave Ireland... they had very little to work with," he said.

Eamon Dunphy said he was not sorry to see the pair had stepped down. "I think it's the right move for Irish soccer because the last 12 months have been shocking, the team is not playing well," he said.

Irish Independent

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