Sunday 27 May 2018

'We hope entire island gets behind them so we can have a team to be proud of'

Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

GOOD wishes have poured in for Martin O'Neill from his home turf in Kilrea, Co Derry.

Family friend Sean McKenna said news of the O'Neill/Keane partnership has been "the talk of the town".

"Everyone can't believe it, but he's definitely the right man for the job. He's got all the skills and characteristics needed for the pressure he will face.

"With Keane with him, they should do alright together. Everyone is just so proud.

"His parents went over to Nottingham when he went over there, but two of his brothers are now living in Coleraine."

Another local, Terence McWilliams (62), said he remains one of Martin's closest friends in Ireland.

He said the Derry man never stood out as a sporting talent in his younger days, let alone manager of the Republic of Ireland.

"But there was one thing that struck me about Martin, and that was his fierce determination," he said.

Parish priest Rev Patrick McWilliams said people were proud that the "local lad" had reached the top echelons of Irish soccer. "Everyone is delighted, and while his parents are no longer alive, he has plenty of siblings living in Ireland and it's a particularly proud moment for them," he said.

"It remains to be seen how he gets on with Keane because that could be a major problem in the long run. We hope the whole island of Ireland will now get behind him and Roy so we'll have a team to be proud of."

Irish Independent

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