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O'Neill and McDermott in Ireland frame

Sacked Premier League managers Martin O'Neill and Brian McDermott have emerged as leading contenders to succeed Giovanni Trapattoni as Republic of Ireland manager, ESPN understands.

O'Neill has the emerged as the Football Association of Ireland's leading candidate to replace Trapattoni after his dismissal at Sunderland on Saturday evening, with deposed Reading boss McDermott also in the mix to land the Ireland role when it is vacated.

Trapattoni has come under fire once again in the Irish media after his failure to change the make-up of his team during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifying tie against Austria as their opponents scored a late leveller to dent Ireland's hopes of qualifying for Brazil 2014.

After FAI chiefs came close to dispensing with Trapattoni's services last October, they are now under pressure once more to make a change, but it seems likely that the 74-year-old coach will remain in position until the decisive double header against Austria and Sweden in September.

McDermott has previously expressed an interest in becoming Republic of Ireland boss in the past, with the 51-year-old proud of his Irish roots.

"My mum is from Clare and my dad is from Sligo and even though I was brought up in England, I supported Sligo Rovers as a kid," he told RTE radio last year.

"In my early days as a player at Arsenal, I represented England at youth team level, but looking back I'd say I was pressurised into doing it. A couple of years later I realised it was a big mistake.

"Of course, things are different today, as players can switch allegiance. I live in England, and I'm not ashamed of that, but being Irish is in my blood.

"Ever since then it has been a goal of mine to manage Ireland. It was an error on my part to play for England, and I have told my friends that. You have career paths in life and I'm determined to realise my long-held ambition."

Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy had previously been favourite to make a return to the Republic of Ireland role he held between 1996 and 2002, while ex-Ireland full-back and current Norwich manager Chris Hughton is another leading contender.


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