Martin O’Neill has officially resigned as Republic of Ireland manager, and in many ways, his resignation is a fitting end to 2018 for Irish football.
This year has been one to forget for fans. The Republic of Ireland played nine games in total, four draws was matched by four defeats, with their solitary win coming against a second string United States side in a post-season friendly.
The team have not scored in over five hours of play, with their last goal coming against Poland in September.
The statistics make for grim reading, so it will come as some sort of solace that O’Neill, alongside Roy Keane have decided to step away and let the FAI begin a fresh start in 2019.
The FAI released a statement this morning (Wednesday) confirming that O’Neill had indeed resigned, with the much maligned chief executive, John Delaney paying tribute to O’Neill for the job he done.
“I would like to thank Martin, Roy, and the management team for the impact that they had with the Ireland team. There have been many highlights during Martin’s reign – none more so than EURO 2016 in France, which will live long in the memory of all Irish supporters.
“Martin did a great job guiding the team out of a difficult qualifying group – where we beat World Champions Germany along the way – to reach EURO 2016 and advance to the Last-16 following a historic victory over Italy in Lille.
“I wish Martin, and the management team, the very best for the future.”
The former Celtic manager did have some early success in the role, most notably a 1-0 win over then world champions Germany that helped secure the teams place in Euro 2016.
However, a 5-1 drubbing by Denmark in last year’s World Cup playoff at the Aviva Stadium coupled with a grim 2018 has led to both parties confirming that the best course of action for Irish football was to give someone else a chance.