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Republic of Ireland: FAI sorry after missing April new manager deadline

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The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has apologised to Republic of Ireland fans after confirming the search for a new men’s head coach could extend as far as September.

The FAI had set a target of early April to announce a replacement for Stephen Kenny, who left in November.

But director of football Marc Canham says the process remains ongoing.

“We recognise that it’s not necessarily the news people wanted to hear and may be disappointed to hear,” said Canham.

“We’re absolutely committed and determined to find the best person for our men’s national team and for Irish football; that will continue to be our aim.”

Canham said the association is now “realistically” looking at having a new head coach in charge in time for the opening Nations League game against England in September.

Having aimed for early April, he added that he would not set a tight deadline if he were to go through this process again.

“We recognise that the timelines and deadlines we set have created a sense of expectation and confusion for everyone,” said Canham, speaking to the FAI’s YouTube channel.

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

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

England Under-21 head coach Lee Carsley, former Celtic boss Neil Lennon and ex-Wales manager Chris Coleman were among the early candidates linked with the role.

Former Republic of Ireland captain Roy Keane, Bayern Munich assistant manager Anthony Barry and Gus Poyet, who recently left his role as Greece boss, have also been also linked.

John O’Shea took over as interim head coach for March’s friendlies against Belgium and Switzerland.

Canham confirmed the association is in talks with the former Manchester United defender over him continuing in that role for June’s matches against Hungary and Portugal.

“We’re very pleased with what he did in the March friendlies and we’re talking to him at the moment in hopes to be able to confirm that as soon as possible,” Canham said of O’Shea.

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