Mick McCarthy says Martin O’Neill has got the Republic of Ireland job, but ‘hasn’t got a clue’ what he’d do if the FAI came calling

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says Martin O’Neill is ‘nailed on’ for the vacant Republic of Ireland job, but added he ‘wouldn’t have a clue’ what he’d do if he was offered the job himself.

McCarthy – who led Ireland to the last 16 of the World Cup in 2002 – was made second favourite for the job after Giovanni Trappatoni left the role by ‘mutual consent’ following Ireland’s failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Brazil this week.

The out-of-work O’Neill has always been the short-odds favourite though and McCarthy has now revealed that the Northern Irishman is close to being given the job.

“I’m not surprised (I’ve been linked) because I did a good job last time,” said McCarthy. “But Martin O’Neill is getting the job as far as I’m aware. That’s totally nailed on, he’s a shoo-in for it.

“He’s ex-Celtic and is a damn good manager. My understanding is that he’s got the job. Good luck to him, I’m delighted.”

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Asked what he would do if O’Neill didn’t get the job and was offered it himself, the Blues boss continued: “Why is anything going to change? Is he suddenly going to decide he doesn’t want to do it?

“I’ve been linked it with it because of my success doing that job in the past. I’ve not courted it or fanned the flames at all. I’m not going to do that now.

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“I was asked in here, when Giovanni was under pressure, do you fancy it? And I said ‘yes I would at some stage’, but I’m in a job and it’s not the right time. I’m loving what I’m doing here.

“Martin O’Neill is out of work and he can walk straight into the job. I think he’s perfect for them.”

McCarthy went on to confirm reports that his Ipswich Town contract did have a clause which would have allowed him to take the Republic of Ireland job without his Suffolk employers receiving compensation, but that that clause had expired over the summer.

Asked to clarify that he would turn down the Ireland job, if offered to him, he said: “I’m not going to clarify or deny anything. The process of elimination is, if Martin O’Neill did turn it down, which is not going to happen, then somebody should go to (Ipswich owner) Marcus Evans.

“Why am I going to pre-empt something? They aren’t going to drop that atom bomb, but if they do then I’ll be ******* myself like everybody else. My understanding is Martin has got it. I’m not looking for it and I prefer to make my decisions when somebody asks me the actual question, not when a journalist asks me a hypothetical question.

“What would I do? I haven’t got a bleeding clue.”

He continued: “Every time it comes up I’d like to be linked with it. That’s because of the job I did, not because I’m available. I’m contracted to Ipswich and loving the job I’m doing.

“In time I hope we can get to the Premier League with Ipswich.

“But it’s right I get linked because I did a good job there. Behind Jack (Charlton) I did a good a job, if not better, than anybody else.

“Martin O’Neill, because of circumstances, is unemployed. If I was unemployed it might be a different story.

“I’ve been quoted before in saying it’s a job I’d love to do again. I had success in that job and loved every minute of it, but I could say that about Wolves and Sunderland and to a lesser degree Millwall. I’ve loved everywhere I’ve been.

“I’m currently loving what I’m doing, I really am. I’ve not courted this, it’s just people adding two and two and coming up with five.

“It’s somewhat of an unnecessary distraction. I went to an LMA dinner the other day and left the building in a collar and tie. Someone shouted out ‘are you going to a job interview’? That was a bit of fun and I quite liked that, but I don’t want it to distract from the games we’ve got coming up because there is no substance in it.”

When quizzed about reports that his contract did hold a clause which would have enabled him to join the Republic of Ireland with no compensation owed to Ipswich – something which subsequently expired in the summer – he said: “That’s absolutely true.

“I had an agreement with Marcus (Evans), but that’s no longer there so it makes no odds now. I also had an agreement that if we went down then Marcus could get shot of me or I could get shot of myself.

“When I took the job in November the team was rock-bottom and everything was a bit unsure. I thought it was right that I asked for that at that time, but also that it wasn’t fair that it continued into a new season. Once the season started I wanted everyone to know I was the manager here.

“I think that shows you what feeling and loyalty I have to here.

“I didn’t ask (for the Irish clause) to go until the end of the qualifications.”

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