FAI on verge of agreement for BOTH McCarthy and Kenny to manage Ireland
FAI chiefs are closing in on an innovative agreement with Mick McCarthy and Stephen Kenny for BOTH to manage the Republic of Ireland over the next three years.
McCarthy (59) will be unveiled tomorrow as the new senior international team manager and will take the Republic through the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign next year – and hopefully onto the finals the following summer.
However, two sources close to ongoing negotiations say Dundalk manager Kenny has agreed to take the Ireland U21 manager’s job – and WILL replace McCarthy as the Republic’s senior manager once the Euro 2020 campaign is finished.
The ticks-all-boxes proposal is being finalised tonight in advance of McCarthy’s unveiling Sunday as the senior boss. Kenny’s appointment as U21 manager will also be confirmed at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow. He replaces Noel King. It is understood he will also oversee the Under 15, 17 and 19 programmes.
If negotiations are as far down the track as sources indicate, the FAI has clearly succeeded in convincing McCarthy of the merit of a well-compensated short-term project – ie, get the Republic to the Euros and in doing so, put himself back in the shop window for an attractive club job in the Premier League or Championship after 2020.
FAI officials are delighted to have Kenny on the international pathway, though it is obviously a blow to Dundalk, who will have to find a replacement for this season’s double-winning manager.
Club officials have been told in the last hour that Kenny will be departing with immediate effect.
If the loose ends and succession stakes are tied up as anticipated tonight, it concludes a dramatic week of business at FAI headquarters at Abbotstown, with chief executive John Delaney in England last Tuesday bringing the curtain down on the reign of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane, and within four days confirming not only their replacement in Mick McCarthy, but his successor as well.
The draw for the group stages of Euro 2020 qualification takes place in Dublin next Sunday. McCarthy’s Ireland will be a third seed in the group phase along with Northern Ireland, Scotland, Slovakia, Turkey, Norway, Serbia, Finland, Bulgaria and Israel.
The teams will be split into ten groups, five groups of five (A–E) and five of six (F–J), with games to be played between March and November. The tight turnaround gives the new Irish manager no breathing space whatsoever. He has to hit the ground running with Matchday 1 on March 21-23rd.
The Aviva Stadium will play host to a number of games at the pan-European finals, which will be co-hosted by 13 European cities.
In advance of McCarthy’s confirmation at 3pm tomorrow in the Aviva Stadium, several reports have claimed the ex-Ipswich boss will earn around €1.2m a year, but it may be that McCarthy’s contract terms will be incentivised on the basis of Euro 2020 qualification.
McCarthy is likely to confirm some or all of the new Irish backroom team tomorrow, with Terry Connor likely to come in as assistant, and Robbie Keane heavily linked with a coaching role.