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Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020

Dundalk assistant among the new faces as Kenny makes three additions to Ireland backroom team

Dundalk assistant head coach Ruaidhri Higgins will leave the League of Ireland champions and is among three appointments confirmed by the FAI this evening.

Ruaidhri Higgins celebrates with Dundalk's Michael Duffy after an FAI Cup semi-final win last season.
Ruaidhri Higgins celebrates with Dundalk's Michael Duffy after an FAI Cup semi-final win last season.
Image: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND manager Stephen Kenny has added Ruaidhri Higgins, Damien Doyle and Kevin Mulholland to his backroom team ahead of his first game in charge, a trip to Bulgaria in the Nations League in September.

Dundalk assistant manager Higgins will leave the League of Ireland champions and has been appointed senior national team chief scout and opposition analyst. Doyle will assume the role of athletic performance coach after an 18-month spell in a similar job with the Ireland U21s, while Mulholland has also graduated from Kenny’s underage setup to become chartered physiotherapist for the senior team, and will remain in his physio role at Southampton.

Limavady native Higgins, 35, played for five years under Kenny with his home top-flight club Derry City, going on to win a League of Ireland Premier Division under the same manager at Dundalk in 2014. He played a key role off the field in two more title wins for the Lilywhites, as opposition analyst and coach in 2018 and as assistant to manager Vinny Perth a year later.

ruaidhri-higgins-and-vinny-perth Dundalk assistant head coach Ruaidhri Higgins and Head coach Vinny Perth. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The FAI made an approach to the reigning Premier Division champions for Higgins back in April and, speaking to on Tuesday, manager Perth paid a glowing tribute to his now-former right-hand man, confirming a deal had been reached between the two parties.

“The FAI has reached an agreement to enable Ruaidhri’s departure,” Perth said. “We put a huge emphasis and value on contracts at this club and we are satisfied that the matter has been dealt with in the correct manner.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Ruaidhri and he leaves with the well-wishes of everyone in Dundalk. He was a popular and valuable member of our backroom team and I would like to thank him for the support and assistance he gave me during his time at the club.

“If you want a championship-winning team, then I believe you need championship-winning staff,” Perth added. “Ruaidhri was certainly that and I’ll always be grateful to him for what he did for me.”

unnamed (5) Ruaidhri Higgins (L), Damien Doyle (middle), and Kevin Mulholland (R).

Doyle, 40, from Portmarnock in Dublin, spent 18 years working in England with Leicester City, Brentford and MK Dons, primarily as head of athletic performance, before taking on a similar gig under Kenny with the Republic of Ireland U21s 18 months ago.

Mulholland, a 35-year-old from Knockbridge, Co. Louth, was the U21s’ lead physio and specialises in performance and injury-prevention physiotherapy at Premier League side Southampton, having previously worked with Sheffield Wednesday and Stoke City.

“I’m delighted to welcome Ruaidhri, Damien and Kevin,” said Kenny. “They are great additions to the backroom team. They each have a great work ethic and a high level of professionalism and we are all looking forward to the campaign ahead.”

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