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Martin O'Neill releases statement addressing Ireland exit


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Martin O'Neill has addressed his exit as Republic of Ireland manager in a statement released through the League Managers Association (LMA).

The former Celtic, Leicester City and Aston Villa manager stepped down as Ireland boss alongside his backroom team including assistant Roy Keane, with that development confirmed by the FAI earlier this morning.

Touching on a disappointing run of results in 2018, the 66-year-old Derry native described it as a "transitional phase" for the team and pointed to capping 12 players over the past nine games.

He also thanked the FAI board, players and fans in the statement which you can read in full below.

We will hear reaction from former Ireland manager Brian Kerr on Off The Ball later this Wednesday evening: 

Statement

"I have had the great honour of managing the Republic of Ireland National football team for the past five years and it is with a heavy heart that I leave this role.

"It was one of my lifetime ambitions to take charge of the Irish Senior squad and I would like to thank the FAI Board for giving me that opportunity. 

"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.

"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, onto the field of play.

"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.

"Knowing that the past year would be a transitional phase for the squad, I have capped twelve new players in the last nine games, with the aim that they become significant international contributors in the coming campaign.

"To the players, I reserve great praise and admiration for the phenomenal commitment they have shown whilst wearing the Irish shirt. 

"Having had these great experiences in my spell as the Irish international manager, I am looking forward to my next adventure in football."


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