Management Profiles

Martin ONeill

Martin O'Neill

Martin O'Neill, born March 1 1952, is regarded as one of the most successful Irish managers of all time.

The Kilrea, Co Derry, native's management career has included many successes including leading Celtic FC to the 2003 UEFA Cup Final. In his five-year tenure of the Scottish giants O'Neill led the club to three league titles, three Scottish Cup successes and a Scottish League Cup win.

His managerial progress has been steady since beginning with non-league Grantham Town in 1987. The former Northern Ireland international took charge of Wycombe Wanderers in February 1990 when the club was in conference football. Under O'Neill's tenure Wycombe won the FA Trophy in 1991 and 1993. In the latter season O'Neill led Wycombe into the Football League for the first time in its history. This was quickly followed up by promotion via the Division Three play-offs the following season. O'Neill's Wycombe narrowly missed out on the Division 2 play-offs in 1995 and that year saw him move to one of his former playing clubs Norwich City.

O'Neill stint with Norwich lasted until December that year and after he opted to move on, the manager was offered the Leicester City job. O'Neill helped the Foxes to promotion via the First Division play-offs in 1996 and the following year he lifted silverware with the East Midlands outfit as they won the Football League Cup and he repeated the feat again in 2000. Under O'Neill's guidance Leicester also reached the 1999 final of the same competition.

After his term with Celtic O'Neill took a one-year break from the game and returned with Aston Villa in 2006. He led Villa to sixth spot in the Premier League three seasons in a row and to the 2010 League Cup Final, where they lost to Manchester United. He departed Villa Park in August 2010 then took the helm at Sunderland in December 2011 when the club was in relegation trouble. O'Neill led the Black Cats to 13th place in his first season but left the club in March 2013.

O'Neill was eight times named Premier League Manager of the Month, nine times SPL Manager of the Month and three times Scottish Football Writer's Association Manager of the Year.

His playing days began close to home. After a promising GAA career, O'Neill began to earn notice as a football player with Distillery, featuring in the Irish Cup Final in 1971, scoring twice in the game. He also scored against FC Barcelona in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in September that year and was signed by Nottingham Forest. He stepped away from his studies in law at the Queen's University of Belfast to sign for the English club.

Under the management of Brian Clough, Forest began a golden era for the club with O'Neill starring in midfield as the club won promotion to the First Division in 1977. The glory days continued with the league title and League Cup secured a year later. In 1979 Forest won the League Cup once more and then surprisingly won the European Cup, although O'Neill missed the final through injury. O'Neill was back in the side the following year as Forest retained the European Cup by beating Malmo.

His playing career later included periods as Norwich City, Manchester City and Notts County. At international level, O'Neill captained Northern Ireland at the 1982 World Cup in Spain which reached the quarter-finals. He played 64 times and scored eight goals for Northern Ireland between 1971 and 1984. He was also part of the Northern Ireland side that won the British Home Championship in 1980 and 1984.

He was appointed Republic of Ireland manager in November 2014. 

Roy Keane

Roy Keane, born August 10 1971, is regarded as one of the best footballers ever to play for the Republic of Ireland.

His managerial career began with a very successful spell at Sunderland when he led the Black Cats to the Championship in his first season in 2007 then kept the club in the Premier League the following season. He was twice named Championship Manager of the Month in 2007. After stepping down in December 2008 he returned to management with Ipswich Town four months later. He did not his achieve his ambition of leading the Suffolk club back to the top flight and left Portman Road in January 2011. Keane is a UEFA Pro Licence holder.

As a player Keane first emerged as a very talented schoolboy with Rockmount AFC and was capped at a number of underage international levels. He joined Cobh Ramblers in 1989 and made rapid progress with the First Division club after enrolling in the FAI Fas Academy in Leixlip. He signed for Nottingham Forest the following summer.

He made his debut for Brian Clough's Forest side against Liverpool at the start of the 1990–91 season and developed into an integral part of the side as Forest progressed to the 1991 FA Cup final, where they were beaten by Tottenham Hotspur. He made his senior international debut for the Republic of Ireland in May 1991.

The following year Keane played for Forest in the Football League Cup final, where they lost to Manchester United. He won a Full Members Cup medal with Forest in 1992 but after they were relegated the following year he moved to Manchester United.

In his first season at Old Trafford the Red Devils won the Premier League and FA Cup Final double for the first time. His playing career at Manchester United was hugely successful as he ended up with a personal haul of seven league winners medals, four FA Cup honours, a UEFA Champions League medal in 1999 and a FIFA Intercontinental Cup the same year.

Keane's club career ended with Celtic where he won the Scottish Premier League title in 2006 and helped the club to the Scottish League Cup the same season.His individual accolades as a player included two Premier League Player of the Month awards and the 2000 Football Writer's Association Footballer of the Year award. He was FAI Senior International Player of the Year in 1997 and 2001. He won the FAI Young Player of the Year award in 1993 and 1994.

His international career included a string of outstanding performances at the 1994 World Cup Finals in the USA and he played a pivotal role as Ireland qualified for the 2002 World Cup Finals in Japan and Korea. After a controversial departure from the national team squad ahead of that tournament Keane opted out of international football but returned in April 2004. He ended his Ireland career with 67 caps and nine international goals.

When Martin O'Neill was appointed Republic of Ireland manager in November 2013 he announced that Keane would be his assistant.

Roy Keane
Seamus McDonagh

Seamus McDonagh

Seamus McDonagh was born 6 October 1952 in Rotherham to an Irish family.

His playing career as a top class goalkeeper saw him won 25 caps for Ireland and accumulate more than 400 appearances in the English leagues.

After his playing career he moved into coaching, initially as player-manager with Galway United, before he became a goalkeeping coach.

McDonagh's started at Rotherham United, and he spent a month on loan at Manchester United in 1973, before joining Bolton Wanderers. He was ever present as Bolton secured the Second Division title in 1977–78 and he set a club record of conceding only 33 goals in a 42-match season.

Everton then moved to sign McDonagh for £250,000 when Bolton were relegated in 1979–80 but within a year he had returned to Bolton. He moved on to Notts County for two seasons before he embarked on loan spells at Birmingham City, Gillingham and Sunderland.

He spent two years in US indoor soccer with Wichita Wings in 1985 and 1987 then joined Scarborough. He had a loan spell at Huddersfield Town and a brief stint with Charlton Athletic before taking the player-manager's position with Galway United in 1988.

After his spell with the Tribesmen he had loan spells at Spalding United, Grantham Town (twice), Telford United and Arnold Town. He retired from playing in 1994.

McDonagh had coaching positions at several clubs including Coventry City, Mansfield Town, Nottingham Forest, Millwall, Rotherham United, Leicester City, Aston Villa, Plymouth Argyle and Hull City. He was appointed Sunderland's first-team goalkeeping coach by Martin O'Neill in December 2011 and O'Neill appointed him to the same role with Ireland in November 2013.



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