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Late kick-off for RTE's new LOI show 'Soccer Republic'

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Martin O'Neill will have to get the best out of the players he has in order to succeed

Martin O'Neill will have to get the best out of the players he has in order to succeed

SPORTSFILE

Martin O'Neill will have to get the best out of the players he has in order to succeed

RTE's 'Monday Night Soccer', the highlights show focused on the League of Ireland, has been rebranded as a broader show titled 'Soccer Republic' and moved to a later 11.05 time slot ahead of the new campaign.

It will launch on Monday week, March 10, after the first weekend of the new league season, but the show will also encompass the latest news surrounding the Irish international team and some content related to the Champions League.

Uncertainty had surrounded the future of the MNS after it was not included in the FAI's new TV rights package with RTE that is centred on access to competitive Ireland internationals.

It launched in 2008 as part of the FAI's five-year deal with RTE and awarded a prime-time 7.0 time slot.

That contract guaranteed the programme a five-year shelf-life that expired at the end of last season, and it presented RTE with a dilemma, as the show had struggled to attract viewers.

It was hindered by frequent clashes with domestic or Setanta Cup games and also the attraction of televised games across the water during the Premier League season; particularly with the growing popularity of the Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher combination on Sky Sports' 'Monday Night Football'.

Martin O'Neill and his assistant Roy Keane will feature on the first show. Paul McGrath, Ray Houghton, Ronnie Whelan, Kenny Cunningham and Keith Gillespie will join the regular panel of pundits which includes Richie Sadlier, Brian Kerr, Pat Fenlon and Tony McDonnell.

Irish Independent