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Monday 24 September 2018

O'Neill given time to answer Ireland call

Martin O'Neill. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Martin O'Neill. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

MARTIN O'Neill will be given more time to make up his mind if his answer to the FAI in the next 48 hours is still 'maybe'.

Although the preference in Abbotstown among senior FAI men is for a manager to be in place before the newly announced friendly against Latvia at the Aviva on November 15, O'Neill will be allowed more leeway if he asks for it.

He will give his initial reply to the job offer from the FAI, which has now been on the table for three weeks, at some point over the weekend. If his answer is in the negative, it is far from certain that the FAI will immediately turn to Mick McCarthy.

If O'Neill withdraws, there is a growing sense that because there is no good footballing reason to rush into an appointment if a new manager cannot be in place for the friendly double-header against Latvia and Poland, more time will be given to the search which could stretch into the New Year.

McCarthy's irritated reaction to persistent questioning about the Ireland job hasn't done him any favours in Abbotstown and with Denis O'Brien's backing firmly in place, it is thought that a wider search might yet produce a blue-chip name.

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