Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill's mum dies after long illness

By David Young

Patricia O'Neill, the mother of Northern Ireland international football manager Michael O'Neill, has died after a long illness, the Belfast Telegraph has learned.

The news comes as her son Michael is embroiled in negotiations over the next step in his career as speculation persists that he is set to leave Windsor Park.

O'Neill's parents Des and Patricia have supported him throughout his career in football - from his early days as a player with Coleraine FC and Newcastle United, and latterly in his role as manager of the Northern Ireland international team.

Speaking about his son, Des O'Neill once said: "Both his mother and I are really delighted that he has been so hugely successful as a manager.

"I don't think we could feel any prouder."

Mrs O'Neill had been ill for some time.

Earlier this year, she was unable to attend a degree ceremony at the Ulster University in Coleraine, where the NI boss received an honorary doctorate in recognition of his contribution to sport.

O'Neill told students at the ceremony: "Unfortunately, my mother can't be here because of her health.

"This would have been a very proud day for her. She always would have liked a priest in the family. Now she has a doctor!"

O'Neill's father Des suffered a heart attack earlier this year.

He has since gone on to make a full recovery.

It's thought that O'Neill, who took Northern Ireland to the brink of next year's World Cup finals, is in negotiations with the Scottish Football Association about becoming the next manager of Scotland.

The Belfast Telegraph understands that an agent will represent the grieving manager at meetings this week.

Belfast Telegraph

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