Tuesday 12 December 2017

O'Neill keen to stay at Rovers and 'drive club forward'

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

MICHAEL O'NEILL wants to commit himself to Shamrock Rovers and discussions on a new contract will resume after next week's Europa League game against Rubin Kazan.

The Armagh native was believed to be in the running for the manager's job at his former club Hibernian, but he has since denied applying for a post that now looks likely to be filled by Pat Fenlon.

While he remains open to the possibility of managing Northern Ireland, the 42-year-old is intent on signing a new contract with the Hoops, where his current deal runs out after the Europa League clash with Tottenham on December 15.

"I'm under contract with Shamrock Rovers and my focus has never been anywhere else. The speculation has been driven by the media," he said.

"Discussions between myself and the board are ongoing. Possibly when the Kazan game is out of the way we can sit down and have some serious discussions. Hopefully, the board see me as the right man to drive this club forward."

While he wants to stay at Rovers, O'Neill re-iterated that, if the IFA were to offer him the Northern Ireland job, he would take it.

"I played for more than 10 years with Northern Ireland and to manage your country would be a huge honour," he said.

Meanwhile, Richie Ryan last night put pen to paper on a 30-month deal with Dundee United.

Ryan, who will link up with Willo Flood, Sean Dillon and John Dillon at his new club, said: "I'm over the moon. It's nice to know that my future is at Tannadice for at least the next couple of years and I'm looking forward to the challenge ahead.

"With the number of Irish lads already at the Club, it'll be a little bit easier for me to settle in," added the Tipperary-born midfielder who had a spell at Sunderland.

Elsewhere, Ireland have climbed up to 21st place in the World rankings -- their highest position for more than six years. England have moved up to fifth, while Northern Ireland are down to 89th.

Irish Independent

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