Mick McCarthy and Robbie Keane: the 'dream team' after O'Neill's €1m departure
'I left with a heavy heart' - Martin O'Neill insists Ireland team in a 'transitional phase' as he departs
Former manager Mick McCarthy and former captain Robbie Keane are being touted as the new ‘dream team’ to manage the Ireland football team.
McCarthy is the leading candidate to replace Martin O’Neill and he is reportedly interested in the role. He has been out of work since leaving Ipswich in April.
And Keane is in the equation to work alongside McCarthy, after being previously linked with the Under-21 team job.
It’s believed the FAI have tried to sound out Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny to see if he would be interested in becoming U-21 manager – but he feels he is capable of becoming senior boss.
The FAI has refused to comment on the deal reached that led to O’Neill and assistant Roy Keane departing by mutual consent. But it’s believed the cost of parting with the pair and the rest of the management staff will be in the region of €1m.
Earlier, Martin O'Neill said he left the job as Ireland manager with a 'heavy heart' after agreeing to part company with the FAI.
The Irish boss was summoned to emergency talks with FAI CEO John Delaney late on Tuesday night where the decision was made for him and assistant Roy Keane to depart.
O'Neill subsequently released a statement through the League Managers' Association this evening.
"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," he said.
"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, on to the field of play."
O'Neill added: "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."
The FAI board had grown alarmed with Ireland's loss of direction under O'Neill with the team failing to score a goal in the October and November double headers.
They won just one out of their nine games in 2018.
A statement from the FAI this morning confirmed O'Neill's exit.
The management team of Keane, Seamus McDonagh (goalkeeping coach), and Steve Guppy (assistant coach) have also parted company with the FAI.
FAI President Donal Conway said: “On behalf of the FAI Board, I would like to thank Martin, Roy, and the management team for their work with the Republic of Ireland team over the last five years.
“Martin ensured that we enjoyed some great nights in the Aviva Stadium and on the road in Lille, Vienna, and Cardiff, which were fantastic high points for Irish football.”
FAI Chief Executive John Delaney paid tribute to O’Neill by saying: “I would like to thank Martin, Roy, and the management team for the impact that they had with the Ireland team. There have been many highlights during Martin’s reign – none more so than EURO 2016 in France, which will live long in the memory of all Irish supporters.
“Martin did a great job guiding the team out of a difficult qualifying group – where we beat World Champions Germany along the way – to reach EURO 2016 and advance to the Last-16 following a historic victory over Italy in Lille.
“I wish Martin, and the management team, the very best for the future.”
The FAI Board will meet promptly to discuss the process of recruiting a new manager.