Former Dunfermline manager Stephen Kenny is new Republic of Ireland boss
Stephen Kenny has replaced Mick McCarthy as Republic of Ireland manager with immediate effect, following Uefa’s announcement that the Euro 2020 qualifying play-offs would again be delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
McCarthy’s contract was due to run until 31 July, after the Euro 2020 finals were originally due to finish, with Kenny, who had a spell as Dunfermline manager, due to step up from his role with the Ireland Under-21s on 1 August.
The Republic are due to face Slovakia away in the Euro 2020 qualifying play-offs, with the winner to face either Northern Ireland or Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, the fixture has been postponed for a second time due to the pandemic.
Interim FAI chief executive Gary Owens said: “This has been a difficult situation for the Association – and for Mick and Stephen in particular – in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the effect on the football calendar.
“On behalf of president Gerry McAnaney, the board of the FAI and myself, I want to thank both men for their professionalism and their understanding in their dealings with the association in these unprecedented circumstances. These are exceptional times in Irish life and Mick has taken that into account in agreeing to vacate the post early.
“On behalf of the FAI, I wish to express our gratitude to Mick for his service and commitment to our national team throughout his career and particularly in his second spell as Ireland manager.
“We wish Mick and his staff well and we thank them all for their hard work in this European Championship campaign.”
The match against Slovakia was originally due to take place on 26 March, then shifted to the June international window due to the suspension of football across Europe. Uefa announced last week that no international football would go ahead in June, with no new dates announced.
Owens added: “Stephen will now begin his planning for the play-off against Slovakia in our bid to qualify for Euro 2020.
“Football will be back and we have so much to look forward to now with the Nations League and the Uefa Euro 2020 play-off, followed by the World Cup qualifiers in 2021.”
Northern Ireland are themselves in the market for a new manager with Michael O’Neill due to step down following the qualifying play-offs, having become boss of Stoke in November. But there is no change in the IFA’s position, with O’Neill due to take charge for the play-offs whenever they might be staged.