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IFA's new chairman: we'll fight for O'Neill

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Michael O'Neill has been a big success at Northern Ireland

Michael O'Neill has been a big success at Northern Ireland

?William Cherry / Presseye

Michael O'Neill has been a big success at Northern Ireland

The Irish FA will do all that they can to keep Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill beyond the Euro 2016 finals, according to the Association's new chairman Gerry Mallon.

O'Neill's current deal finishes after the Euro 2016 qualifying process and while he will sign a new deal to see him through to the finals, should Northern Ireland make it to France next year, Mallon is hoping O'Neill will be around for longer than that...until at least the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

In an exclusive interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Mallon said: "Michael has done a fantastic job. In the short term we are all concentrated on qualifying for the Euro finals but I don't think I am giving too much away by saying our intention is likely to be that we will ask Michael to stay.

"Obviously it is going to be a decision for Michael. What we can try to do is to seek to try and support him and make his job easier and his life easier by giving him what he needs to make it work.

"We listen and pay a lot of heed to him in terms of player development and are determined that we don't squander the opportunity that we have now and put player pathways in place."

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