Football | Stephen Kenny replaces Mick McCarthy with immediate effect

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Stephen Kenny has replaced Mick McCarthy as Republic of Ireland manager with immediate effect, the FAI has confirmed.

Both managers have agreed to the change due to the ongoing delays to the European Championship play-offs caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

McCarthy’s contract was due to expire on July 31st, with the Boys in Green originally scheduled to face Slovakia in the semi-final of their Euro 2020 play-off last month.

UEFA have since suspended all international fixtures for June, with Ireland’s trip to Bratislava now expected to take place later in the year.

Kenny moves up to the senior job from his role with the exciting U21 side, and will now be at the helm for the play-offs.

McCarthy admits it is disappointing not to be given the opportunity to potentially lead Ireland into the Euros, but has thanked the Irish fans for their wonderful support.

“I fully support the decision,” he told FAI TV.

“It’s only right and fair that Stephen gets his chance on August 1st.”

Interim FAI CEO Gary Owens paid tribute to McCarthy for his service to the Boys in Green, and looked ahead to former Dundalk manager Kenny’s reign.

“On behalf of the FAI, I wish to express our gratitude to Mick for his service and commitment to our national team throughout his career and particularly in his second spell as Ireland manager,” he said.

“We wish Mick and his staff well and we thank them all for their hard work in this European Championship campaign to date.

“Stephen will now begin his planning for the play-off against Slovakia and everyone at the FAI wishes him well in our bid to qualify for Euro 2020. Football will be back and we have so much to look forward to now in the autumn with the Nations League and the UEFA EURO 2020 play-off, followed by the World Cup qualifiers in early 2021.”

McCarthy replaced Martin O’Neill on a two-year deal for his second spell as Ireland boss in November 2018, with Kenny immediately announced as his successor in an unusual move.