Man United legend Roy Keane hailed as ‘phenomenal’ after Ireland book spot at Euro 2016

first_img Martin O’Neill Martin O’Neill hailed the influence of his assistant Roy Keane after the Republic of Ireland booked their spot at Euro 2016.Ireland overcame Bosnia-Herzegovina in the play-off second leg in Dublin on Monday night to secure a 3-1 aggregate victory.O’Neill singled out Keane for praise following the match, claiming his appointment is the best decision he has made since becoming boss in 2013.The former Manchester United star had a controversial international career, famously walking out of the Ireland squad at the World Cup in 2002.His appointment as O’Neill’s number two therefore raised eyebrows, but it is a partnership that has guided the Boys in Green to next summer’s finals in France.“I’ve had to make many big decisions. The biggest was bringing in Roy Keane and he has been absolutely phenomenal,” said O’Neill.“I couldn’t be more delighted with him. He’s an iconic figure. He sometimes polarises opinion but not in the dressing room.“He’s been absolutely enormous for us. He’s not taking too many of the accolades, but he’s been fantastic for us, for myself, the backroom staff and the players.”Stoke striker Jonathan Walters was Ireland’s hero against Bosnia as he converted a controversial 24th-minute penalty and then volleyed home 20 minutes from time to wrap up a victory which means he and his team-mates will take part in a second successive European finals tournament.Ireland will join England, Northern Ireland and Wales in France next summer and O’Neill said:  “I’m sure there are better words than ‘special’ because I have used it a few times now, but it’s very, very special. I’m sorry, I’m not William Wordsworth or William Shakespeare, so I can’t find another word at the moment.“It’s pretty special and I’m delighted. Michael’s performance with Northern Ireland does him great, great credit; Chris Coleman again for Wales, Roy Hodgson qualifying, and just to join them is great, it really is great, it’s just nice, a nice moment.” 1last_img

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