MARTIN O’NEILL and Roy Keane will remain in charge of the Republic of Ireland until the 2018 World Cup after each signing two-year contract extensions.
O’Neill, 64, joined the Republic in 2013 after replacing Giovanni Trapattoni and has masterminded Ireland’s qualification to the European Championships, which begins this Friday.
The former Celtic and Aston Villa manager had been linked with numerous club jobs due to a prolonged delay in contract extensions, but has since decided to stay on as Ireland boss, calling the post a ‘privilege’.
“I am delighted that John Delaney and the FAI Board have extended our contracts for the World Cup campaign,” said O’Neill.
“It has been an absolute privilege to have been in charge of the Republic of Ireland national team these last 30 months and we go to France in good spirits, with a strong desire to do well in the next few weeks.’’
Meanwhile, O’Neill’s assistant Keane has also signed a new contract extension. The Cork native had been linked with several club jobs as of late, with even O’Neill suggesting the former Manchester United player could take on a fresh project.
However, the contract extension has put such rumours surrounding the 44-year-old to bed.
FAI Chief Executive John Delaney has spoken of his joy at the double contract extensions, which he believes is very significant for the Boys In Green.
“I am delighted we have agreed terms with Martin and his team of Roy Keane, Steve Guppy, Seamus McDonagh and Steve Walford,” said Delaney.
“The board of the FAI were unanimous in offering Martin and his full management team a renewal of their contracts.
“Since Martin has taken over we have achieved the objective of qualifying for the Euros and he has led the project in helping to develop some of the emerging talents in Irish football, including Robbie Brady and Shane Duffy, right up to the recent introduction of Callum O’Dowda, who made his senior debut last week.
“I am delighted to have worked with Martin and his team through qualification for the Euros, and I and all of the staff in the Association, look forward to working with them into the future.
“I would like to take this opportunity to wish the management team, the players and the backroom team the very best as we embark on our journey to France tomorrow for the European Championships.”
The Republic of Ireland face Sweden in Paris on Monday, their first match at the 2016 European Championships.