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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 16:40 GMT
McIlroy wants new contract
Northern Ireland skipper Steve Lomas in action against Finland at Windsor Park
McIlroy's Northern Ireland lost 1-0 at home to Finland

Northern Ireland manager Sammy McIlroy has moved quickly to quell rumours that he was considering giving the job up.

McIlroy's made no attempt to hide his disappointment after losing 1-0 at home to Finland in Wednesday night's Windsor Park friendly.

The NI boss was exasperated at seeing his side waste a series of chances and they have now gone six games without a goal.

Steve Lomas and Stuart Elliott both saw headers strike the woodwork as Northern Ireland drew another blank.

Sammy McIlroy is anxious to see his side end their goal drought
Sammy McIlroy wants to carry on as NI boss

McIlroy's downbeat demeanour afterwards sparked off suggestions that he might fancy a return to club management.

But the former Macclesfield manager has made it clear he would like to extend his career as an international boss.

"I have no intention of walking away. How could I walk away from a group of players who have given me so much? said McIlrioy.

"I could not have asked for more from my players against Finland.

"I do not know whether this run without a goal is a monkey on our backs or if we have run over a black cat, but something must have happened.

"I have never known anything like it in my time in football."

Stuart Ellliott hit a post against Finland with a late header
Substitute Stuart Elliott went close to scoring

McIlroy made it clear he had unfinished business with the Northern Ireland post.

"I always said this was a job which would take a number of years to complete and I really do believe these young players are getting valuable experience.

"There is not doubt about it - I will see out my current contract and I would be happy to stay on after that.

"But of course, that is up to the Irish Football Association."

McIlroy has been Northern Ireland manager since January 2000 when he succeeded Lawrie Mcmenemy.

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