Saturday 21 September 2019

Martin O'Neill's statement in full

Martin O’Neill stands for the anthem in Denmark prior to what proved to be his final game in charge. Photo: PA Wire
Martin O’Neill stands for the anthem in Denmark prior to what proved to be his final game in charge. Photo: PA Wire

I have had the great honour of managing the Republic of Ireland National football team for the past five years and it is with a heavy heart that I leave this role.

It was one of my lifetime ambitions to take charge of the Irish Senior squad and I would like to thank the FAI Board for giving me that opportunity.

I will not forget the night in Lille when we beat Italy to secure the nation's best ever achievement in the Euros competition, the terrific night we beat the World Champions Germany at home in Dublin, or James McClean's goal in that euphoric win against Wales in Cardiff that put us through to the play-offs for this year's World Cup.

The Irish fans have been a source of motivation to myself, the team and the whole backroom staff, embodying the passionate Irish spirit, and I thank them for their fervent support of the team.

I am also very proud of the relationships I have built with the players, who have carried that very same spirit, imbued by the fans, onto the field of play.

A special thanks to Roy Keane my assistant, an inspirational figure in the world of football, Seamus McDonagh, Steve Guppy and Steve Walford for their brilliant contributions and to those backroom staff at the FAI that were of enormous help to me.

Knowing that the past year would be a transitional phase for the squad, I have capped twelve new players in the last nine games, with the aim that they become significant international contributors in the coming campaign.

To the players, I reserve great praise and admiration for the phenomenal commitment they have shown whilst wearing the Irish shirt.

Having had these great experiences in my spell as the Irish international manager, I am looking forward to my next adventure in football.

McClean and Walters pay tribute to O’Neill on social media

James McClean

Gutted to see the gaffer gone . . . qualifying for euros beating Germany, last 16 at the euros, beating Italy, within one game of qualifying for world cup being 4th seeds . . . aye bad record thanks for everything gaffer

Jon Walters

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. I would've been very confident in qualifying under Martin and still am with the group of players we have. On a personal note I have the utmost respect for Martin as he is and always has been fantastic for me

Irish Independent

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