Martin O’Neill steps down as Ireland manager, Roy Keane also goes

Roy Keane and Martin O’Neill had their moments at the helm of the Republic of Ireland, but endured a torrid 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 21 November 2018
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Martin O’Neill steps down as Ireland manager, Roy Keane also goes

  • O’Neill guided his team to the last 16 at Euro 2016 and oversaw famous victories over Germany and Italy during his 55 games in charge
  • Despite his achievements, O’Neill has endured a miserable run — Ireland have won just one of their nine games in 2018

DUBLIN: Martin O’Neill stepped down as Ireland manager with a “heavy heart” on Wednesday after five years at the helm following a dismal run of results that resulted in relegation in the Nations League.
The former Celtic and Leicester boss, who replaced Giovanni Trapattoni in November 2013, left his post by mutual consent, with assistant manager Roy Keane also parting company with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).
O’Neill guided his team to the last 16 at Euro 2016 and oversaw famous victories over Germany and Italy during his 55 games in charge. He also led the side to the playoffs for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“On behalf of the FAI board, I would like to thank Martin, Roy, and the management team for their work with the Republic of Ireland team over the last five years,” said FAI president Donal Conway.
“Martin ensured that we enjoyed some great nights in the Aviva Stadium and on the road in Lille, Vienna, and Cardiff, which were fantastic high points for Irish football.”
O’Neill said it had been an honor to be in charge of the team and paid special tribute to Keane, whom he described as “an inspirational figure in the world of football.”

“It was one of my lifetime ambitions to take charge of the Irish senior squad and I would like to thank the FAI board for giving me that opportunity,” he said in a statement released by the England-based League Managers Association.
“The Irish fans have been a source of motivation to myself, the team and the whole backroom staff, embodying the passionate Irish spirit, and I thank them for their fervent support of the team,” he added.
“I am also very proud of the relationships I have built with the players, who have carried that very same spirit, imbued by the fans, onto the field of play.”
Despite his achievements, O’Neill has endured a miserable run — Ireland have won just one of their nine games in 2018, a victory against the United States in June.
The poor run of results culminated in a 0-0 draw against Denmark on Monday in Aarhus.
The side have also struggled for goals and have not found the net since September 11.
The FAI said its board would meet promptly to discuss the process of recruiting a new manager.


Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal into Monte Carlo last eight

Updated 18 April 2019
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Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal into Monte Carlo last eight

  • Medvedev eliminates 6th seed Tsitsipas in three sets

MONTE CARLO: Top seed Novak Djokovic and 11-time champion Rafael Nadal showed no mercy in dominating wins to power into the Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinals on Thursday.

Djokovic extended his winning streak against US players with a 6-3, 6-0 defeat of Taylor Fritz.

The two-time tournament champion has now won nine in a row over Americans since losing at Wimbledon in 2016 to Sam Querrey.

“It was very challenging to play in these (windy) conditions,” Djokovic said. “Taylor just flattens the ball.

“We had five, six close games in the first set, I just managed to break his resistance midway through.

“After that, things went on my side and I felt more comfortable.

“This was one of these days where you just have to hang in there and try to put an extra ball back in the court — that was enough.”

Nadal repeated last year’s semifinal win over Grigor Dimitrov, beating the Bulgarian for the 12th time, 6-4, 6-1.

“I’m very, very happy, this is an important victory for me,” the second seed said after winning his 23rd consecutive set at the tournament.

“Grigor is a super talent and is very dangerous. It was a positive match for me.

“I had a good day, I can be happy with what I did on court.

“When you don’t play on clay for almost a year, every win is important for the confidence, especially as I’m coming back from injury.”

Spain’s 17-time Grand Slam champion started his clay season this week after missing a month with another knee problem and has title-holder points to defend here plus Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros.

The king of clay is bidding for a 12th trophy in the principality. His record at the event is a staggering 70-4.

Nadal spent almost an hour in securing the first set but picked up the pace in the second as he ran out the winner.

He next faces Guido Pella, who defeated Italy’s Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

World No. 1 Djokovic will be playing his ninth quarterfinal here from 13 appearances at his home event.

Djokovic turned in a steady performance with a dozen winners and unforced errors, while his opponent committed nearly 30 unforced errors in 68 minutes.

Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier lost 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 as Daniil Medvedev continued his run of form.

The Russian will next line up against Djokovic after losing to him in January in the Australian Open fourth round.

Tsitsipas was caught on the back foot facing three match points as he trailed 0-40 on his serve late in the second set. After saving the first two, the Greek botched the third to seal his exit after an hour and three-quarters.

Medvedev increased his leading total of ATP season match wins to 20 as a result after he beat Tsitsipas for the fourth time in as many attempts.

“This was a great achievement for me,” Medvedev said. “Everything was perfect today.

“Some wind came up in the second set and I could not get used to it. But in the third, I just worked to put every ball in the court.

“I was pleased to fight back after going a break down in the third set.”

The player who stands a career-high 14th credits his rising form to a renewed dedication to the sport.

“I’ve been working hard for the past 18 months —  since before the start of 2018. I’ve dedicated my life to tennis, which I did not do before,” Medvedev said.

“I had my best season last year — hopefully this year will be better.”

The Russian reached his first quarterfinal at the Masters 1000 level after winning his second match against a Top 10 opponent.

Tsitsipas, runner-up last season to Nadal in Toronto, suffered his eighth defeat of the season against 18 wins and will try and lift his game next week on the clay of Barcelona. 

Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego defeated Britain’s Cameron Norrie 6-2, 7-5.