Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane ‘really delighted’ to sign new deals with Ireland

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has this morning confirmed he has signed a new contract along with his assistant Roy Keane, writes Liam Mackey.

The contract runs until the end of the current World Cup campaign.

O'Neill ended months of speculation about his future at a squad announcement in Dublin today.

O’Neill said: "Yes I have signed it. I signed it not that long ago. We'd agreed a deal back before the Euros and I never saw it as an issue.

“It is signed and done now. Roy and the backroom staff have followed suit. We are really delighted.”

The news will provide reassurance for those who feared the delay could see either O'Neill or Keane opt instead to return to club management after guiding the Republic to the Euro 2016 finals at the end of their first campaign in charge.

They will now concentrate their efforts on securing a first passage to the World Cup finals since 2002 after a near miss in controversial circumstances six years ago, when Thierry Henry's play-off handball cost them their chance of a trip to South Africa.

A 2-2 draw in Belgrade, secured by Daryl Murphy's late equaliser, got O'Neill's men off to a positive start on a night when they did not play particularly well, although the manager is convinced that point could eventually prove invaluable.

He said: "The point in Belgrade was very important. Anyone that finishes ahead of Serbia will go very close to winning this group."

After earning the valuable point away to Serbia in their first Group D game, Ireland will host Georgia in Aviva Stadium on Thursday, October 6 before travelling to take on Moldova on Sunday, October 9 in Chisinau.

Included in the squad, for the first time, is Barnsley midfielder Conor Hourihane. The Cork native previously represented Ireland at underage level and has excelled in recent seasons in England's League One and Championship.

Goalkeeper Danny Rogers also earns a senior call-up, while Brighton & Hove Albion defender Shane Duffy is available following suspension.

Republic of Ireland Squad

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (West Ham United), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Danny Rogers (Falkirk*)

Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Cyrus Christie, Richard Keogh, Alex Pearce (Derby County) Paul McShane (Reading), John O'Shea (Sunderland), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle United), Marc Wilson (Bournemouth), Stephen Ward (Burnley)

Midfielders: Aiden McGeady (Preston North End*), James McClean (West Bromwich Albion), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), James McCarthy (Everton), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Stephen Quinn (Reading), David Meyler (Hull City), Conor Hourihane (Barnsley), Harry Arter (Bournemouth), Eunan O'Kane (Leeds United), Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham City), Callum O'Dowda (Bristol City), Robbie Brady, Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff City), Jonathan Hayes (Aberdeen)

Forwards: Shane Long (Southampton), Daryl Murphy (Newcastle United), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City), Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids)

*Indicates player is currently on loan

KEYWORDS: sport, soccer.

 

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