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Mick McCarthy's reign as Ireland manager ends, Stephen Kenny takes over with immediate effect

The FAI released a statement this afternoon.

Mick McCarthy (file pic).
Mick McCarthy (file pic).
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

MICK MCCARTHY’S REIGN as Republic of Ireland manager has come to an end, and U21 boss Stephen Kenny has taken over with immediate effect.

Off The Ball first reported the news this afternoon, and a formal statement from the Football Association of Ireland [FAI] has followed, confirming McCarthy’s exit after his second stint at the helm.

“The Football Association of Ireland announces that Mick McCarthy is to be succeeded as national team manager by Stephen Kenny with immediate effect,” it reads.

“The handover has been agreed with both men in light of the delay to the European Championship play-offs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Kenny is now the manager for the remainder of the Boys In Green’s European Championship qualifying campaign. The former Dundalk boss’ contract was due to see him succeed McCarthy on 31 July this year, after Euro 2020.

With the tournament postponed until next year due to the Covid-19 crisis, and Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifier semi-final play-off against Slovakia moved to September at earliest, it brought many complications for the FAI.

Initially, the play-off was set for June, meaning the decision could have been delayed. 

It’s understood that McCarthy and his assistant, Terry Connor, were informed today that Kenny’s contract would be honoured.

“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 it has had on the football calendar,” Interim FAI CEO Gary Owens said.

“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 to date.

“Stephen will now begin his planning for the play-off against Slovakia and everyone at the FAI wishes him well in our bid to qualify for Euro 2020. Football will be back and we have so much to look forward to now in the autumn with the Nations League and the Uefa Euro 2020 play-off, followed by the World Cup qualifiers in early 2021.”

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