Martin O'Neill

Senior Men
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.