Stephen Kenny steps up to take reins of Ireland national team


Stephen Kenny has stepped up from managing the under-21 Irish team to take over the full international side earlier than planned due to COVID-19.

It was always the intention for Kenny to take over from Mick McCarthy when both were appointed to their positions back in November 2018.

The original plan, however, was for McCarthy to hand over the reins in August 2020 after Euro 2020 had finished. But as COVID-19 has pushed the tournament back a year to the summer of 2021 as well as delaying Ireland’s play-offs for the tournament against Slovakia and then potentially Northern Ireland or Bosnia Herzegovina from March to this autumn, the FAI made the decision to bring forward the planned management change.

So, who is Stephen Kenny?

Kenny has managed a number of teams in Ireland (Longford town, Bohemians, Derry City, Shamrock Rovers, and Dundalk) as well as Dunfermline Athletic in Scotland.

He is one of Ireland’s most successful club managers having won eight major trophies with Dundalk and boasts extensive experience in European competition.

With Dundalk, he got them to the last qualifying round of the Champions League in 2016, which qualified them for the Europa League group stages.

To put that into perspective the League of Ireland is ranked 37th by UEFA.

He made a great start to managing the under-21 side and drew big crowds, averaging over 6,000 to watch his young team perform at the Tallaght Stadium.

The reason for these big crowds is very simple, they are playing a modern brand of football with no fear and with a lot of style.

Beating teams like Sweden 3-1 away and playing great football in the process.

Taking on a very strong Italy team at home and going at them with no fear.

Kenny has the Ireland U21 team top of the table and on course to qualify for their first ever U21 Euros because of his no-fear style of football.

Kenny’s bold style has also been apparent from his first day in the job after his appointment to take over the full international side this week by removing Mick McCarthy’s assistant manager Robbie Keane who had two years left to run on his contract.

He was swift and cold with his decision telling the FAI that Keith Andrews would be his number 2 and there would be no place for Keane in his back room team.

Stephen Kenny is his own man and has a modern style of play which the Irish fans are looking forward to seeing in the upcoming Euro play-offs and Nations League later this year.


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