Stephen Kenny's backroom team of Andrews, Duff and Kelly confirmed

Sun, Apr 05 2020

Damien Duff began his recent coaching career with Shamrock Rovers Credit: Michael P Ryan (ETPhotos)

The FAI continue to move swiftly this weekend as on Sunday they announced the full line up of what will be the new Senior and U21 Republic of Ireland international management teams following Mick McCarthy's departure.

Keith Andrews, Damien Duff and Alan Kelly have been announced as Stephen Kenny's backroom team with the Senior Republic of Ireland team. The trio between them have 169 international caps with the Boys in Green.

Andrews had worked alongside Kenny with the current U21 side in the most recent European Championship Qualifying campaign while Duff who has acquired coaching experience at Shamrock Rovers and more recently at Celtic. He will leave the Scottish club to take up his role with the backroom team on August 1st.

Jim Crawford will hope to continue the fantastic work that has been done by Kenny at underage level to date as he takes the reins of the Ireland U21 team. He will be joined by former Republic of Ireland international John O'Shea who is currently on the coaching ticket at Championship side Reading.

FAI Interim CEO Gary Owens said he was delighted with the appointments and feels the experience they now have with the make up of both backroom teams will be a huge plus to both squads.

Speaking to he said “The calibre of Stephen Kenny’s backroom team is top class and these are great additions to our senior team coaching staff.

“Keith and Damien served Ireland so well as players and their experience will be such an addition to our senior squad’s support team.

“Keith and Stephen have worked brilliantly together with the Under-21 squad and Damien, currently finishing his UEFA Pro Licence with the FAI’s Coach Education department, has impressed everyone with his coaching skills and his switch from world class player to coach.

“Alan knows international football inside and was part of the squad at two World Cup finals. He is highly regarded as a coach with Premier League side Everton and has huge experience with Ireland.

“Everyone at the FAI is delighted with Jim’s promotion to manager from assistant also and he has a great number two now in John O’Shea as he takes the next step on his coaching career”, added Owens. 

The original agreement that had been agreed was for Mick McCarthy to remain in charge until his contract end date (July 31st) which would have seen him attempting to navigate the team through a play-off semi - final and final and depending on how that went, tournament football at Euro 2020. 

Stephen Kenny was always due to take over as senior manager replacing McCarthy on 1st August this year but that agreement and date was cast into real doubt in recent weeks with sporting events worldwide being postponed or cancelled indefinetely as a result of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic that we are seeing worldwide.

The ‘what ifs’ and different potential scenarios were all put to bed quickly and quite unexpectedly for many on Saturday when the FAI announced that Mick McCarthy had stepped down with immediate effect and Stephen Kenny would be taking over as of yesterday.

This prompt move  and clarity now allows Stephen Kenny time to plan for the upcoming Nations League and also the all important European Championship play-off semi-final against Slovakia with a new date not yet confirmed.

McCarthy said yesterday after his departure that despite being disappointed, he fully supported the decision and thanked the fans for their support since he took over for the second time in his managerial career.

"I fully support the decision. It's only right and fair that Stephen gets his chance on August 1st."

"I said to Roy [Barrett] that the only thing I'd ask for when leaving is a couple of tickets for next EUROs when we qualify."