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Friday 20 October 2017

O'Neill and Keane to stay with Boys in Green until Euro 2020

Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane. Photo: Sportsfile

Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane are both set to be at the helm of the Ireland team management until Euro 2020 after the duo agreed a new deal with the FAI.

The pair, along with backroom team Steve Guppy, Steve Walford and Seamus McDonagh, are all set to remain with the national squad.

However, no contract has been signed and the Herald understands that the finer details have yet to be ironed out.

The agreement means that O'Neill and Keane are set to remain with the national team irrespective of whether Ireland qualify for the World Cup in Russia next year.

The Boys in Green face Moldova tonight knowing they must win at the Aviva Stadium and follow that up with victory over Wales in Cardiff on Monday if they are to have a chance of a World Cup play-off place.

Speaking following the announcement of his contract extension, O'Neill said he was "delighted".

"I spoke to John [Delaney] very recently and he said on behalf of the board they would like to extend my contract for another couple of years, obviously with the Euros coming up and I've agreed to do so," he said.

"I'm delighted, I've enjoyed it immensely. International football was something I didn't know whether you'd get used to or not, but obviously qualification for the Euros (2012) made it all worthwhile and we're still in this competition also.

"The future, now with some younger players coming through, taking over from the old guard, who will retire naturally through old age as much as anything else, I think that it's exciting times for us," he added.

Autograph

Meanwhile, the Ireland boss also weighed in on comments made by Rory McIlroy about his assistant manager, Keane.

Golf star McIlroy said Keane snubbed him for an autograph when he was a kid, but O'Neill joked that he is sure one can be arranged for the golfer.

McIlroy himself received flak at the 2014 Open Championship after appearing to brush off a young man's attempts to get an autograph.

Asked about comments made by McIlroy in which the golfer said he was told "no" by Keane when asking for an autograph as a child, O'Neill said: "Well I didn't know anything about it until Ian [Mallon, FAI Director of Communications] mentioned it to me there around an hour and a half ago.

"So I haven't really had a chance to speak to Roy about it. I think he'll be fine. I feel if Rory wants an autograph, he'll probably get it," he added.

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