Ryan Byrne/INPHO Amber Barrett and Megan Connolly are among the Irish players impacted.
# Irish Eye
Four Irish internationals see club managers depart in recent days
Change is coming for Megan Connolly, Megan Walsh, Amber Barrett and Niamh Farrelly.

FOUR REPUBLIC OF Ireland women’s internationals have seen their club managers depart in recent days.

Brighton duo Megan Connolly and Megan Walsh, World Cup play-off hero Amber Barrett of Turbine Potsdam, and Parma’s Niamh Farrelly will all be operating under new head coaches in the run-up to their first major tournament in Australia and New Zealand 2023.

Hope Powell stepped down as manager of Women’s Super League [WSL] side Brighton yesterday, while Sebastian Middeke and Fabio Ulderici were sacked in Germany and Italy respectively.

Former England boss Powell took the Brighton helm in July 2017 and led the Seagulls to a best-ever sixth-placed finish in the 2020-21 season.

Their form has been far less successful this campaign with the club currently sitting 11th, just one place clear of the relegation places, and they were thumped 8-0 by Tottenham on Sunday.

Powell said: “We’ve had a very challenging start to the new season with many changes to our squad and results not going as we had all hoped. Sunday’s heavy loss at home to Tottenham was particularly disappointing.

“As a club, we’ve made a lot of progress in the past five years, but I feel now is the right time to step aside and allow a new coach to take the team forward with plenty of Super League football still to play this season.”

Amy Merricks, supported by Alex Penny and Perry Northeast, will take interim charge of the team when they face West Ham on Sunday.

Powell oversaw a total of 116 matches and led the club to two ninth-placed finishes during her tenure, which also saw Brighton finish seventh last season.

Powell became the first black and first female coach of an England national side when she was appointed head coach of the Lionesses in 1998. She was also capped 66 times by her country as an accomplished player, scoring 35 goals. She was given an OBE in 2002 and awarded a CBE in 2010.

Michelle Walder, chair of Brighton’s women’s and girls’ football club board, added:

“Hope’s contribution to the development of women’s and girls’ football at our club, and for the women’s game in this country, cannot be underestimated.

“Hope has established Brighton & Hove Albion in the Women’s Super League, has overseen the opening of a new state-of-the-art women’s and girls’ teams training facility at our club, and has undoubtedly inspired further generations of young girls to play football. We wish her well for the future.”

Connolly wrote a heartfelt message on Twitter:

“Thank you HP for everything you have done for me as a person and player over these past five seasons. You are a true legend of the game and I am so proud and privileged to have been a player of yours learning from you every single day.”

While Connolly and Walsh have both been at Brighton since 2019, Barrett and Farrelly signed for Potsdam and Parma this summer.

Both sides have endured rocky starts to the season. Potsdam are bottom of the Frauen-Bundesliga with just a single point to their name — a 5-0 defeat to Freiburg Middeke’s last game in charge — while Serie A Women’s ninth-placed team, with one win and one draw from eight, parted ways with Ulderici after Sunday’s 0-0 leveller with Sampdoria.

“Parma Calcio would like to announce that Fabio Ulderici has been relieved of his duties as Women’s Head Coach,” a statement read.

“The Club thank him for the professionalism and hard work shown during his time here and wish him all the best for his future career.”

“1. FFC Turbine Potsdam is separating from Mr. Sebastian Middeke with immediate effect,” stated the German outfit.

- Additional reporting from Emma Duffy

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