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Kenny's U-21 tenure nears end as Toulon Tournament is off the cards

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Stephen Kenny. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Stephen Kenny. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Stephen Kenny. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Stephen Kenny is set for his final game as Ireland U-21 manager next month, regardless of Mick McCarthy's results as senior boss, as there will be no Toulon Tournament return for his young guns.

Kenny's side came of age last summer in France, where Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah starred in their march to the semi-finals.

The FAI had released extra funds at the manager's request to facilitate that friendly tournament as, by then, he had overseen only one game at the helm of his first international job.

Ireland U-21s played five games over the fortnight at the prestigious tournament, laying the groundwork for their ascent to top spot in their Euro qualifying group.

Financial restrictions arising from the FAI's year of turmoil has ruled out another crop heading to Provence.

Kenny, due to replace McCarthy as senior international team manager when Ireland's involvement with Euro 2020 ends, can sign off by guaranteeing Ireland a first-ever U-21 play-off.

Victory against Iceland in Tallaght on March 26 and Luxembourg in Beggen five days later would seal second spot before his successor takes the side to top seeds Italy in October for the final fixture.

Meanwhile, it is understood that the reforms at the FAI will continue, with a reduction in the number of officials travelling with the senior squad on away trips.

During the previous regime, it was commonplace for several directors to form part of the delegation. A rota system had also been in place for members of the FAI Council.

Irish Independent