DUBLIN: Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane have become the Republic of Ireland’s managerial dream team.
The 61-year-old Ulsterman and the 42-year-old former Manchester United and Ireland skipper have signed initial two-year contracts with the Football Association of Ireland.
The Republic parted company with Giovanni Trapattoni in September after failing to qualify for the World Cup.
O’Neill said: “I’m the bad cop and Roy’s the bad, bad cop. I’m looking forward to it greatly.”
Keane said: “I;’m delighted and honoured Martin has asked me to work with him. I’m looking forward to working with the players and getting to the Euros.”
The Republic’s next fixtures are friendlies against Latvia on 15 November and Poland four days later.
O’Neill, who won 64 caps for Northern Ireland, has been out of football since being sacked by Sunderland in March while Keane was dismissed by Ipswich in January 2011.
Keane gained 67 international caps, but caused controversy as captain of his country when he quit the Republic squad before the 2002 World Cup after falling out with then manager Mick McCarthy.
FAI chief executive John Delaney said: “Roy and I would not have had much contact in the past. We met last week and there were no problems whatsoever.
“The meeting was absolutely brilliant from my point of view and I think from his as well. It was all about the future, not about the past.”
O’Neill began his managerial career at Wycombe and also had spells in charge of Norwich and Leicester before spending five years at the helm at Celtic.
He led the Glasgow side to the domestic treble in his first season and in 2003 took them to the Uefa Cup final where they lost in extra time to Jose Mourinho’s Porto.
O’Neill also managed Aston Villa from 2006-2010 and led the club to three successive sixth-placed finishes. He spent 16 months in charge of Sunderland but was sacked after a run of eight games without a win left them one point above the relegation zone.
Delaney added: “Irish football and our country is bigger than anything. Two icons of Irish football can work together with us. I just hope everybody gets behind us. This is a team effort.”
The Republic reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup under Jack Charlton on their maiden appearance in 1990 but have failed to qualify since 2002.
Trapattoni, who was appointed manager in February 2008, guided the team to the finals of Euro 2012 but they lost all three matches in a difficult group with Spain, Italy and Croatia.
In World Cup 2014 qualifying they were beaten 6-1 at home by Germany and could only finish fourth in Group C, with 14 points from their 10 matches.