By Damian Dolan.
John Delaney had every reason to look like the cat that got the cream on Saturday at the Gibson Hotel, Dublin, as he unveiled Martin O’Neill as the Republic of Ireland’s new manager.
After several thwarted attempts, the FAI’s chief executive had finally got his man. O’Neill safely delivered, Delaney could sit back on Saturday and enjoy the moment, and the positive impact the appointment has had on Irish football, along with the appointment of Roy Keane as his assistant, before a ball has even been kicked in anger.
That will come against Latvia on November 15 at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, as the O’Neill-Keane era begins with what should be the kindest of introductions. The honeymoon period will last until next September when Ireland begins its Euro 2016 qualifying campaign – the draw for which will be made in February.
Given the head-strong nature of the pair, the O’Neill-Keane era may just as easily end in tears as in triumph. For now, Delaney can bask in a job well done. What happens from here is in the hands of Ireland’s new management team.
“We’ve wanted Martin for a long time to manage Ireland, but the transition from club to international management is a big issue for managers,” said Delaney.
For more see next week’s edition of the Irish World.