The FAI have confirmed that Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has extended his contract.
The news was confirmed on Thursday evening and comes just hours after O’Neill himself suggested that he would like to stay as the boss beyond this qualificaiton campaign, regardless of whether Ireland qualified for the World Cup or not.
BREAKING: Martin O’Neill has agreed a contract extension and will continue as the Republic of Ireland manager for the EURO 2020 campaign! 👏 pic.twitter.com/UAjiKoMGVh
— FAIreland (@FAIreland) October 5, 2017
O’Neill’s tenure as Ireland boss has seen them recover from the nadir of the final few months of the Trapattoni era, bringing strong morale back into the camp (and the stands) and steering the Boys in Green to the European Championships in France last year, wherein they defeated Antonio Conte’s Italy and led hosts France for almost an hour in the last sixteen.
He has been aiming to repeat the trick by leading Ireland to their first World Cup since 2002, and while they made a positive start in the group, the last few results have left their hopes hanging by a thread.
The timing, with this campaign not even over yet and qualification still very much up in the air, looks odd on the surface but it does show the faith that John Delaney and the FAI have in their man.
No word yet as to whether O’Neill’s backroom staff, including assistant Roy Keane, have also agreed new deals but presumably they have followed suit with the manager.