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Dublin: 10°C Monday 10 May 2021

Niall Quinn says FAI must give Stephen Kenny time to bring 'sea-change' to Irish football

The new Irish manager will begin contacting his players next week.

Stephen Kenny, pictured after last year's U21 win over Sweden.
Stephen Kenny, pictured after last year's U21 win over Sweden.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

NIALL QUINN, THE Interim Deputy CEO of the FAI, says the Association must give new senior boss Stephen Kenny time to implement what Quinn sees as a “sea-change” for Irish football. 

Quinn and Kenny both spoke today as part of an FAI webcast to raise funds for Down Syndrome Ireland, and the retired striker said Kenny can implement an identity that has been missing from Irish football. 

“For too long now, we’ve had a different way of playing from the senior team as we might have had with the U21s and the other underage teams.

“We haven’t had an identity. I think that’s the big thing that excites me the most about what Stephen’s doing and those underneath him like Jim Crawford and John O’Shea and the other international coaches further down the chain.

“There’s an identity being created now about how Ireland play and it’s in keeping with the way the modern game is going. That’s the aim. And I’m very excited about seeing how that goes throughout the whole international platform.

“Is it a change? Yes, it’s a sea-change in terms of how our players would have approached playing up to this point. It’s happening, I know Stephen is going to introduce it so it’s a welcome change, I think. I wish him really well with it. We just need to be supportive as an Association and not treat it like he has to deliver a quick-fire success for us, or put pressure on him. The exact opposite.

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“He has a job to build a particular way of playing and an identity for this Irish team that we hope will be long-lasting right throughout the system. So that all the clubs in Ireland, the grassroots teams – boys and girls – are really proud of how that Irish team plays and they want to do the same thing. That would be something else.” 

Kenny, meanwhile, confirmed he will begin contacting his players next week, having spoken only to captain Seamus Coleman thus far. 

“We’ll be in contact with all of the players now through our Microsoft Teams, and we’ll be in contact in the next week”, said Kenny. “We’ll be speaking to players individually, all of the players who have been in the last couple of squads.

“It is difficult for everybody at this time, you can’t meet anyone and that makes it difficult, but hopefully that improves”.

You can watch the webcast in full here. 

Down Syndrome Ireland’s fundraising income has been severely impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis with all annual campaigns and activities postponed. You can donate to Down Syndrome Ireland at

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Gavin Cooney

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