Martin O'Neill, Roy Keane Leave Republic of Ireland Roles 'By Mutual Agreement'

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2018

DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 15:  Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during the International Friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland at Aviva Stadium on November 15, 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)
Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

Republic of Ireland national team manager Martin O'Neill and assistant Roy Keane have left their positions "by mutual agreement." 

According to RTE. coaches Steve Guppy and Seamus McDonagh have also given up their positions. The FAI confirmed the news on its website

Chief executive John Delaney confirmed the departures in a statement: 

"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.

"Martin did a great job guiding the team out of a difficult qualifying groupwhere we beat world champions Germany along the wayto reach Euro 2016 and advance to the last 16 following a historic victory over Italy in Lille."

O'Neill had been in charge of the team since 2013 after spells with Celtic, Aston Villa and Sunderland. He found plenty of success initially and guided the nation to UEFA Euro 2016, making it to the knockout stages.

But after losing to Denmark in a play-off for the 2018 FIFA World Cup the Irish team went on a downward spiral. The UEFA Nations League campaign turned into a disaster:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

1 - The Republic of Ireland scored just one goal in the 2018 UEFA Nations League; only San Marino (0) scored fewer, while the Irish also attempted fewer shots than every other team (22). Departure. https://t.co/FU2sWJplzU

The team won just a single match since October of last year, a friendly against the United States. 

Perhaps even worse than the poor results were the dire style of football and lack of faith from the fans. Criticism mounted quickly in the last year, and O'Neill didn't help himself with a controversial statement bemoaning the lack of talent in the squad, per Goal's Ronan Murphy:

Ronan Murphy @swearimnotpaul

“Technically, we’re short. We know that. On technical ability, we’re short and I think everybody can see that. But we’re not short of heart.” It’s this kind of comment from Martin O’Neill which led to #WeDontHaveThePlayers How will you ever know if they’re never allowed play?

RTE's Richie Sadlier was desperate for change:

RTÉ Soccer @RTEsoccer

"Keep Martin and Roy in charge and we will continue to get performances like that. It is time for a change." Strong words from @richiesadlier as he thinks Martin O'Neill can no longer get enough from the @faireland players https://t.co/kQRNwCFi0O https://t.co/1fNJ7DerLk

While O'Neill made headlines for Ireland's poor run of form, Keane had issues of his own. The Manchester United legend was involved in a dispute with Harry Arter, leading to struggles within the squad, per Damian Spellman of the Press Association (via the Manchester Evening News).

Following Monday's scoreless draw against Denmark an exit for both seemed inevitable.

Ireland finished last in the Nations League B Group 3 and will be in Pot 3 for qualifying for Euro 2020, complicating their road to the next major international tournament.