Sport

Friday 20 September 2019

Mick McCarthy backed for Republic of Ireland return as Martin O’Neill reign ends

Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane had led the Republic for five years.

Mick McCarthy during the Championship match at St Andrews, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 31, 2018. See PA story SOCCER Birmingham. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Mick McCarthy during the Championship match at St Andrews, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 31, 2018. See PA story SOCCER Birmingham. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

By Press Association Sport staff

Mick McCarthy has been backed to return as Republic of Ireland manager after Martin O’Neill’s five-year reign came to an abrupt close.

McCarthy, who has been out of work since leaving Ipswich in April, is believed to be keen on the role he relinquished after the 2002 World Cup.

And he has the support of long-time Ireland left-back Ian Harte, who believes there is nobody better equipped for the job.

Harte tweeted: “Who is the best person to become manager of Ireland? If it was me I would have Mick McCarthy all day long!!!

“Mick is proven at International level. Plus what he achieved at @Official_ITFC was remarkable as on a shoestring budget! And for me he is brilliant at motivating players.”

O’Neill, assistant Roy Keane and their staff parted company with the Football Association of Ireland on Wednesday after its chief executive John Delaney had held talks with O’Neill in London on Tuesday evening.

ipanews_34d5d9d5-6c31-4b30-b799-6c117fc5a7e1_embedded239816515
Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane have left their roles (Niall Carson/PA)

The split had looked increasingly inevitable after a poor Nations League campaign, which drew to a close with Monday night’s 0-0 draw with Denmark in Aarhus, where Ireland failed to muster a single shot on target.

In a statement released on his behalf by the League Manager’s Association, O’Neill said: “I have had the great honour of managing the Republic of Ireland national football team for the past five years and it is with a heavy heart that I leave this role.

“It was one of my lifetime ambitions to take charge of the Irish senior squad and I would like to thank the FAI board for giving me that opportunity.”

ipanews_34d5d9d5-6c31-4b30-b799-6c117fc5a7e1_embedded237752040
Dundalk’s Stephen Kenny is an outside bet for the job (Niall Carson/PA)

“Knowing that the past year would be a transitional phase for the squad, I have capped 12 new players in the last nine games, with the aim that they become significant international contributors in the coming campaign.”

Other names in the frame to succeed O’Neill are Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, Hibernian counterpart Neil Lennon, Brighton’s Chris Hughton and Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny.

PA Media

The Left Wing: Ireland's fullback dilemma, World Cup bonding and the squad standby list

Also in Sport