John O’Shea could stay as interim Ireland boss as permanent appointment delayed

By Sports Desk April 19, 2024

John O’Shea could remain interim Republic of Ireland manager after the Football Association of Ireland revealed Stephen Kenny’s permanent successor may not be in place until September.

The 42-year-old former Manchester United and Ireland defender took charge of March’s friendlies against Belgium and Switzerland as officials continued their search for a replacement for Kenny, who lost his job in November.

However, director of football Marc Canham, who said last month the new manager would be announced “in early April”, confirmed on Friday the recruitment process was ongoing and could be for some time yet.

Canham told FAI TV: “Realistically we’re looking now towards the UEFA Nations League with our first game against England in September and that’s what we’re aiming to do.

“We recognise that the timelines and deadlines that we’ve previously set have created a sense of expectation and potentially confusion for everyone.

“In hindsight, we would maybe not set those deadlines if we were to do this again and absolutely just commit to trying to find the best person and take as long as that should take, and that’s our aim.

“We recognise and apologise for that, but we’re also confident that ultimately we believe this process will result in us finding the best person for the job.”

Canham revealed talks with O’Shea, who has indicated he would like to be considered as a candidate for the permanent role, over an extension to his interim spell to cover June’s friendlies against Hungary and Portugal were under way.

He said: “In the two June friendlies, the expectation now is that we will have an interim head coach whilst we continue the search for a permanent head coach for September. We would like that to be John O’Shea.

“We were very pleased with what he did in the March friendlies and we’re talking to him at the moment. We’re hoping to be able to confirm that as soon as possible.”

England Under-21s coach Lee Carsley, who was the FAI’s preferred candidate, has ruled himself out of the race, while Neil Lennon has been told he will not be getting the job and Gus Poyet, Chris Coleman and Chris Hughton have all be touted for the post.

However despite discussions between the association and a series of candidates, an appointment is yet to be made and Canham, who along with president Paul Cooke, interim chief executive David Courell and board member Packie Bonner has been handed the task of identifying the new manager, acknowledged mounting frustration among fans.

He said: “We have many great memories of our men’s national team competing at major tournaments and that’s what we want in the future and that’s why we are taking our absolute time and doing our very best and are determined to find the best person to help make sure we have future memories of that, of qualifying for major tournaments.”

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