Mick McCarthy reign ends as Stephen Kenny takes over as manager

The FAI have confirmed that Mick McCarthy’s reign as Republic of Ireland manager is over with Stephen Kenny taking the senior job with immediate effect.

McCarthy and his assistant Terry Connor were informed of the decision this afternoon. Stephen Kenny, who has served us U21 manager since November 2018, had been originally scheduled to take over as senior boss on 1 August 2020.

The disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic – which has seen Euro 2020 pushed back to 2021 and Ireland’s upcoming playoff game against Slovakia postponed until September at the earliest – had resulted in confusion and uncertainty but the FAI disclosed today that they intend to honour the original agreement.

The FAI released a statement announcing the decision this afternoon.

Interim CEO Gary Owens admitted it was a “difficult situation” for the FAI and thanked both McCarthy and Kenny for their “professionalism and understanding”.

He added that Kenny would now begin planning for the Euro 2020 playoff against Slovakia.

McCarty’s second spell in charge saw a much needed improvement in performances from the boys in green.

Full FAI statement:

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

“Mick McCarthy’s contract was due to expire on July 31st after the UEFA EURO 2020 finals, with Stephen initially scheduled to step up from his Under-21 team role on August 1st. This move allows Stephen Kenny time to plan for the European Championship play-off semi-final against Slovakia later in the year.

“Interim FAI CEO Gary Owens said: “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.

“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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