November 21, 2018 / 10:59 AM / 8 months ago

Soccer: Ireland part company with O'Neill and Keane

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland have parted company with manager Martin O’Neill and his assistant Roy Keane after a run of six matches without a victory, the country’s Football Association said on Wednesday.

Soccer Football - UEFA Nations League - League B - Group 4 - Denmark v Republic of Ireland - Ceres Park, Aarhus, Denmark - November 19, 2018 Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and assistant manager Roy Keane Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

Their last game in charge was a turgid 0-0 draw with Denmark in the UEFA Nations League on Monday.

“I would like to thank Martin, Roy, and the management team for the impact that they had with the Ireland team,” said FAI Chief Executive John Delaney.

“There have been many highlights during Martin’s reign – none more so than Euro 2016 in France, which will live long in the memory of all Irish supporters.”

Former Leicester City and Celtic manager O’Neill was appointed in November 2013 and had 55 games in charge.

When O’Neill was appointed to replace experienced Italian Giovanni Trapattoni, and former Manchester United midfielder and Ireland international Keane joined him, it was seen as a “dream team” to revive Ireland’s fortunes after they missed out on the 2014 World Cup.

The early signs were encouraging with Ireland qualifying for the Euro 2016 Championship after beating Bosnia in a playoff. Ireland then progressed to the last 16 after a group stage win over Italy.

Their run was ended by a 2-1 defeat at the hands of hosts France after having taken an early lead.

Ireland reached a playoff for this year’s World Cup finals in Russia but were thrashed 5-1 at home by Denmark, having drawn the first leg 0-0 in Copenhagen.

Since then, however, results have been disappointing and they finished bottom of their Nations League group, losing home and away to Wales and drawing 0-0 twice with Denmark.

They failed to win a competitive match in 2018 or to score in O’Neill’s last four games in charge, yet the 66-year-old remained bullish earlier this week.

“The players are getting used to each other. When it comes to the big games I think we’ll be ready,” O’Neill said after the draw with Denmark. “We’ve been very very strong when it comes to the games that matter.”

Former Manchester United midfielder Keane won 67 caps for Ireland and had been O’Neill’s right-hand man for five years.

Goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh and assistant coach Steve Guppy have also left the Ireland team.

The FAI said its board would meet promptly to discuss the process of recruiting a new manager. Ideally they would like to have one in place before their Euro 2020 qualifying stage draw in Dublin on Dec. 2.

Former Ireland defender and manager Mick McCarthy is available and one of the favourites to replace O’Neill.

Reporting by Graham Fahy and Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Mark Heinrich

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