Sunday 22 September 2019

Mick's back - but his exit date is decided to make way for Kenny

Mick McCarthy. Picture: Sportsfile
Mick McCarthy. Picture: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Mick McCarthy's second coming as Ireland manager was officially confirmed yesterday.

And so was the identity of his replacement.

Just over 16 years after a fraught exit from the Ireland job, McCarthy returned - although he barred any talk of 'unfinished business' from proceedings.

He was also reluctant to dwell on the work of the departed Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane, and confirmed that he was unlikely to be speaking to either man about the squad he has inherited.

This was an unveiling with a difference as the FAI also confirmed that Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny will take over from McCarthy after Ireland's interest in Euro 2020 ends, with no flexibility in that arrangement.

In the meantime, 47-year-old Dubliner Kenny will manage the U21 team and also take responsibility for the development of the younger teams.

McCarthy and Kenny were set to meet last night to get to know each other. "He's buying dinner apparently," quipped McCarthy.

FAI chief executive John Delaney later joked that Robbie Keane would be buying. That's because Ireland's record goalscorer will be assisting McCarthy along with his long-time lieutenant Terry Connor.

McCarthy said the idea of a Keane role was first floated by his former player.

"At first I thought 'you cheeky b******s'," said the Barnsley man, who later added that he believed Keane would bring something fresh to the Ireland dressing room. McCarthy's job is to bring Ireland to Euro 2020 - part of which will be staged in Dublin. He was told on Friday that Kenny would be coming in afterwards no matter what happened, but that did not deter the 59-year-old from accepting the opportunity.

"I thought I might get two terms," McCarthy conceded. "But that was put right at the start. I'm cool with it. Sometimes you go into negotiations and that's what it is and I was quite happy to accept it.

"I want to do the job for the next two years and I have absolutely no problem with the arrangement."

Delaney said he was satisfied with the arrangement and denied that he drove the change because his own position was coming under scrutiny from unhappy fans.

Irish Independent

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