Martin O’Neill gives Ireland boost ahead of Euros
Martin O'Neill will send the Republic of Ireland into Euro 2016 battle knowing he also has a World Cup qualifying campaign to look forward to.
The 64-year-old former Northern Ireland international, as well as assistant Roy Keane and coaches Steve Guppy, Seamus McDonagh and Steve Walford, have signed new deals which will extend their stay for another two years.
O'Neill, Keane and the rest of the party were due to arrive in France on Wednesday ahead of Monday night's opening fixture against Sweden, but whatever happens over the next few weeks, there will be a fresh challenge for them all in September.
The Ireland boss told the Football Association of Ireland's official website, www.fai.ie: "I am delighted that [chief executive] John Delaney and the FAI Board have extended our contracts for the World Cup campaign.
"It has been an absolute privilege to have been in charge of the Republic of Ireland national team these last 30 months, and we go to France tomorrow in good spirits with a strong desire to do well in the next few weeks.
"The players have done brilliantly in the campaign so far and they are ready for the big challenges ahead."
O'Neill and Keane in particular have brought new vigour to the Republic set-up after a disappointing end to the Giovanni Trapattoni era, and Delaney is hoping there is much more to come.
He said: "Since Martin has taken over, we have achieved the objective of qualifying for the Euros and he has led the project in helping to develop some of the emerging talents in Irish football, including Robbie Brady and Shane Duffy, right up to the recent introduction of Callum O'Dowda, who made his senior debut last week.
"I am delighted to have worked with Martin and his team through qualification for the Euros, and I and all of the staff in the association look forward to working with them into the future."