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.


‘It’s epic’: Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal stars tour incredible Ad Diriyah E Prix venue

Al-Nassr’s Nigerian superstar Ahmed Musa (back right) joins (front left to right) Al-Hilal’s Ali Al-Habsi and Mohammad Jahfali and (back left) Saleh Alweheemed ahead of this weekend’s 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 10 December 2018
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‘It’s epic’: Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal stars tour incredible Ad Diriyah E Prix venue

  • 22 Formula E drivers will battle it out for glory this weekend
  • "I’m very happy to see how Saudi Arabia is becoming a rising name for big sports"

JEDDAH: They may be fierce rivals in the Saudi Pro League, but some of the biggest stars of Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr football got together to tour the venue of one of the most anticipated motor racing events in Saudi history.
The players soaked up the atmosphere as they visited the home of the 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E Prix.
This weekend the 2.495km track created within the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site of Ad Diriyah will see 22 Formula E drivers battle it out for glory.
Goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi said: “I’m totally amazed by what they have built here, the track, the grandstands, the hospitality, it’s incredible what they’ve created for the Formula E.  It’s epic.
“As a professional athlete I’m very happy to see how Saudi Arabia is becoming a rising name for big sports, this will be a fiercely fought contest which is sure to thrill the fans.”

 (Left to right) Al Hilal star players Alberto Botia, Abdullah Almaiouf, Mohammad Jahfali, Ali Al-Habsi and Carlos Eduardo visit the new Formula E track at the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site of Ad Diriyah. (Photo/Supplied)

The racing extravaganza will also be accompanied by fan zones, entertainment and cultural attractions.
Three nights of music concerts will feature some of the biggest names in world. 
US smash hit OneRepublic and superstar DJ/producer David Guetta will wrap up the event after the race ends on Saturday with Enrique Iglesias, Jason Derulo and Amr Diab performing from Thursday.
Al Nassr’s Nigerian superstar Ahmed Mussa said: “We’re all about entertaining fans and bringing people together, that’s what football and sport is all about. These three nights will be a spectacle like nothing we’ve seen before and I urge our fans to come and be part of history.”