If you thought Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane had a difficult job, look northwards to put it into perspective.
With a population of just over 1.8 million, a youth scene struggling worse than its southern brother and the addition of the problematic ‘dual passport’ rule, you’d be forgiven for taking pity on Northern Ireland.
Michael O’Neill doesn’t need it, though, it seems. Their dramatic victory over Hungary in Budapest meant that for the time in 86 years, both Northern Ireland and the Republic both won competitive away games on the same day: a remarkable statistic.
Qualification for them is probably beyond their capabilities in a tough group but there is little doubt the former Shamrock Rovers manager has got his side performing minor miracles on the field – long may it continue.
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