Belfast Telegraph

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill wins just like Michael

By Steven Beacom

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has followed Northern Ireland counterpart Michael O'Neill by claiming a Philips Manager of the Month award.

In October, Michael landed the prize for guiding Northern Ireland to Euro 2016 and now Martin has been given the nod for November after leading the Republic to next year's finals in France.

Northern Ireland qualified automatically for the tournament, having finished top of their group, while the Republic made it through the play-offs after coming third in their group with Germany and Poland ahead of them.

It was a 1-0 victory in Dublin over world champions Germany, masterminded by former Leicester and Celtic boss O'Neill, that helped the Republic reach the play-offs.

In that two-leg showdown last month, the Republic drew 1-1 away to Bosnia before winning the home tie 2-0.

The 3-1 triumph on aggregate means the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will play at the same major tournament for the first time ever.

Courtesy of being named monthly award winners, both Michael, who last night switched on the Christmas lights on the Shankill Road in Belfast, and Martin will be in the running for the prestigious Philips Manager of the Year prize, to be announced next week.

Meanwhile, former Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has urged Martin O'Neill to take his LA Galaxy team-mate Robbie Keane to the finals in 2016, even though the striker didn't play in the play-off games with Bosnia.

Gerrard said: "I would be stunned if he was not in the squad. I think Martin O'Neill will take him for his experience.

"He is capable of scoring big goals at big moments and those players are very hard to come by."

Belfast Telegraph


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