Belfast Telegraph

Paris attacks: Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill may put off Euro 2016 trip to France

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has spoken about his shock and sadness at the horrific events in Paris on Friday night.

O'Neill's team were defeating Latvia 1-0 at Windsor Park when the terrorist attacks were unfolding in the French capital, leading to at least 129 people being killed and hundreds more injured.

The Northern Ireland boss is due to visit France next week to assess potential bases for his team ahead of next year's Euro 2016 finals.

But he suggested in the aftermath of the attacks, one of which was at the Stade de France where the French team were playing Germany, that the trip may be delayed.

"I was shocked and saddened when I heard about what happened in Paris," O'Neill told the Belfast Telegraph.

"It's an awful situation and obviously everyone connected with the Northern Ireland team are thinking about the families who lost loved ones and send our condolences to them and the people of France who are going through such a difficult time at present."

O'Neill is aware that thousands of Northern Ireland fans are making plans to go and cheer on his team at next year's finals in France.

The 46-year-old said: "It is very worrying and scary for people, not just in Northern Ireland but all around Europe, thinking about going to France next year with their families.

"The hope is that security measures will be put in place to ensure fans and teams are as safe as possible and that that everyone will rally around and try to make the tournament extra special.

"We were supposed to be going to France to look at potential bases next week, but given the tragic events in Paris we may have to put that off and then next month we will be due in Paris for the Euro 2016 draw."

Meanwhile, Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill has said he is confident his team's play-off match with Bosnia-Herzegovina tonight at the Aviva stadium in Dublin will pass off safely.

He said: "I don't feel uneasy about the game.

"It was horrendous, the events in Paris, and it puts a lot into perspective, including football matches, but I'm hoping that the stadium is well policed and hoping we will be OK."

Belfast Telegraph


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