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Stephen Kenny hopes that new Ireland first-team coach will be appointed by next month

The Ireland manager insists there is no ill-will towards John Eustace who left the role.

Stephen Kenny with John Eustace (file photo).
Stephen Kenny with John Eustace (file photo).
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

STEPHEN KENNY HOPES to have a new first-team coach in place for Ireland’s Nations League games next month.

The abrupt departure of John Eustace to take charge at Birmingham City last month has created a vacancy on the senior team’s staff, and a replacement in time for the clashes with Scotland and Armenia now seems likely.

It will be the fourth such person to fill the role during Kenny’s tenure following Damien Duff, Anthony Barry, and Eustace, who all left for various reasons.

“Yes, there will be, I imagine there would be [an appointment by next month]. Keith Andrews has been my assistant since the start of the Under-21 campaign. We work closely together and are full time employees with the FAI,” Kenny explained.

“We cover England and work on matters throughout the year with Stephen Rice. He is full time as chief scout. Dean Kiely is working with us since the start of the last campaign. The additional coaches are in part-time positions and will be filled in time.”

When asked whether the new appointment would be a similar profile to the likes of Barry and Eustace, who both combined their roles with the FAI at Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers, respectively, Kenny admitted it’s a matter being taken into consideration.

“We will wait and see on that,” he said.

The42 detailed last month about the chain reaction that led to Eustace departing his role after less than six months.

The Ireland manager had expected his No.3 to depart for Birmingham over the summer, but it was understood he would remain as Mark Warburton’s right hand man at St Andrews.

However, when West Ham United appointed Warburton as first team coach on David Moyes’ staff, Birmingham turned their attentions to Eustace, who is a local Brummie.

Kenny revealed today that he had indicated during the interview process with Eustace that he wanted someone on his staff to remain in situ long-term, and while the 42-year-old expressed his willingness to do so, once circumstances changed his head was turned by the chance to take over the Championship side.

Eustace had previously been in the frame for both the Swansea City and Watford manager jobs, and Kenny insisted he harbours no ill-will as he plans for another replacement.

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“Listen, I made it clear to John initially when he was appointed that I was not interested in someone who wanted to be a manager in the short term and that he needed to commit for longer.

“But he obviously lost his job at QPR where he was happy being assistant at QPR and to have the international aspect. It was a huge step up for him coming into the senior international set up.

“He was with us for a short period , just two camps, he really enjoyed it and was enthused by the opportunity,” Kenny added.

“Then the way that he lost his job at QPR and then he got offered the Birmingham job which is his home town. It was a good opportunity and we can only wish him well.

“It’s a big club and he could not turn it down. We have to respect that.”

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny was speaking on a visit to the INTERSPORT Elverys FAI Summer Soccer Schools at Leah Victoria Park, Tullamore Town

About the author:

David Sneyd  / Reports from Tullamore

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