2014 guest speaker

Martin O'Neill
Republic of Ireland Soccer Manager

Martin O’Neill is regarded as one of the most successful Irish managers of all time.

Born in 1952, the County Derry native’s management career has included many successes including leading Celtic FC to the 2003 UEFA Cup Final.

His playing days began close to home and after a promising GAA career, O’Neill began to earn notice as a football player with Distillery, featuring in the Irish Cup Final in 1971. That same year he was signed by Nottingham Forest when he had to step away from his studies in law at the Queen’s University of Belfast to sign for the English club.

His football career later included periods at Norwich City, Manchester City and Notts County. At international level, O’Neill captained Northern Ireland at the 1982 World Cup in Spain reaching the quarter-finals. He played 64 times and scored eight goals for Northern Ireland between 1971 and 1984.

His managerial career began with non-league Grantham Town in 1987. The former Northern Ireland international took charge of Wycombe Wanderers in February 1990 and under his tenure, the club won the FA Trophy in 1991 and 1993 when in 1995 he moved to one of his former playing clubs Norwich City.

After a spell with Norwich City, O’Neill was appointed the manager of Leicester City where he lifted silverware when they won the Football League Cup and he repeated the feat again in 2000.

He joined Celtic in 2000 and during his five-year tenure of the Scottish giants he led the club to three league titles, three Scottish Cup successes and a Scottish League Cup win.

Aston Villa beckoned in 2006 where he led the side to the 2010 League Cup Final. He departed Villa Park in August 2010 and then took the helm at Sunderland in December 2011.

Martin O'Neill has many accolades including eight times voted Premier League Manager of the Month, nine times SPL Manager of the Month and three times Scottish Football Writer's Association Manager of the Year.

He was appointed Republic of Ireland manager in November 2013 and has guided Ireland to winning seven points out of a possible nine in Ireland’s opening UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying games, thanks to wins against Georgia, Gibraltar and a momentous away draw to Germany.

Martin O’Neill was the Guest Speaker at the 2014 Award Ceremony