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Who Will Succeed Stephen Kenny As Next Ireland Manager? O’Shea Favourite Again



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Daire Walsh

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Who Will Succeed Stephen Kenny As Next Ireland Manager? O'Shea Favourite Again

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There continues to be speculation and with an official announcement now pushed back for at least another couple of months, this will remain the case for betting sites when it comes to the potential identity of the next Republic of Ireland men’s national team manager.

When he sat alongside John O’Shea in the Aviva Stadium last month – as the former international star was presented as the interim head coach of the side for friendly encounters against Belgium and Switzerland – FAI Director of Football Marc Canham appeared to make it clear that a permanent successor to Stephen Kenny as MNT supremo would be announced in early April.

Further Delay Caused To Ongoing Ireland Manager Saga

‘Existing contractual obligations’ were stated as the reasons for the delay in a process that had already rumbled on for quite a few months at that time, but as March moved into April, it seemed increasingly likely that this managerial saga was going to rumble on for some time to come. 

These suspicions were confirmed last Friday when Canham – as part of an in-house interview with FAI TV that was the subject of widespread criticism – revealed that the search for a permanent boss remained ongoing and that he mightn’t be in place until their UEFA Nations League clash with England in September.

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Considering Kenny departed the post all of five months ago (and the writing had been on the wall for the Dubliner for quite some time before that), it is a source of great frustration amongst many groups across Irish football that this position remains vacant all this time later.

The general absence of leaks from the FAI has meant that speculation is rife when it comes to the Republic of Ireland job and until such time that a replacement for Kenny is found, this is what betting apps will continue to do.

What we do know for certain is that Ireland are set to have another interim manager in charge of the side for forthcoming international friendlies against Hungary and Portugal in June. 

In his interview with FAI TV, Canham acknowledged that he would once again like O’Shea to be the man to lead the team on a temporary basis.

O’Shea Seen As Current Favourite After Recent Interim Spell 

Although his two-game stint last month produced a scoreless draw with Belgium and 1-0 defeat to Switzerland, the association were relatively happy with the work done by O’Shea and his coaching staff – which included the likes of Paddy McCarthy, Glenn Whelan and Rene Gilmartin.

O’Shea doesn’t appear to have agreed to come back as an interim just yet, but the FAI will certainly hope he does as it would present them with yet another issue to contend with if he didn’t.

Despite the fact the former Manchester United star hasn’t been earmarked as a permanent solution for now, this hasn’t stopped bookmakers making him the favourite for the position at the time of writing. 

The lack of a clear frontrunner has led to this and with odds of 7/4 available on the Waterford native with Betvictor, you couldn’t completely rule out the prospect that he will be offered the job on a permanent basis after all.

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Hughton Also Featuring In The Running For The Job

There is talk that the FAI are interested in a manager that has a good deal of experience as both a club and international boss. One person who certainly fits this bill is ex-Republic of Ireland full-back Chris Hughton.

Formerly an assistant to Brian Kerr with the Irish from 2003 to 2005, Hughton has had spells in the club game with Newcastle United, Birmingham City, Norwich City, Brighton & Hove Albion and Nottingham Forest. 

Having acted as an advisor with Ghana at the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar, Hughton more recently managed the country of his father at the Africa Cup of Nations.

While he hasn’t set the world on fire in his last couple of roles, Hughton did gain promotion to the Premier League at Newcastle and Brighton in the past. 

He may not necessarily fit the FAI’s criteria when it comes to style of play or methods of management, but he currently stands out as second favourite for the job at 9/4.

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Bruce Also In The Reckoning

Like Hughton, Steve Bruce is another with promotion to the English top-flight on his CV – achieving this feat twice with both Birmingham City and Hull City. 

Again, his more recent managerial stints have been less profitable, though the Newcastle United he managed from 2019 to 2021 is vastly different to the one Eddie Howe currently presides over.

He does have a connection to the country as his mother being from Bangor meant he would have been eligible to represent the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. 

This is something his son Alex eventually did himself – lining out for the former in two friendlies, before doing the exact same with the latter. 

Out of work since leaving English Championship outfit West Bromwich Albion in October 2022, Bruce is currently 5/1 with football betting sites for the Irish job.

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Carsley And Sagnol’s Names Continue To Be Linked With Irish Post

Although he shot down the prospect that he was going to leave his post with the England U21s, Lee Carsley remains in the betting for the MNT role. 

He is rated at 8/1 for the role, and given how long the position is now expected to be vacant for, you couldn’t rule out the possibility that Carsley might return to the FAI system again before too long.

Going by the information that was given to the media on two separate occasions in the past couple of months, many believe that the man the FAI are trying to recruit for the Ireland job is current Georgia manager Willy Sagnol. 

He could have been available at the beginning of this month had the Georgians lost to Greece in a Euro 2024 play-off, but their penalty shootout win over Gus Poyet’s side means he will be leading his adopted nation into the European Championships in Germany this summer.

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Whether this means he will be able to take on the Irish job when the tournament finishes is anyone’s guess and given his strong reputation as a Bayern Munich and French defender in the early noughties, he could be well sought after if he does perform well with Georgia in the next couple of months.

He is listed at 8/1 with Betvictor and with no firm indication of where his future lies beyond Euro 2024, he will remain in the frame for the foreseeable future.

Several Others Continuously Spoken About For The Ireland Job

Outside of the above mentioned quintet, there are a plethora of names that are constantly linked with the job and remain somewhere in the betting for the post.

Former Republic of Ireland coach Anthony Barry (8/1), ex-captain Roy Keane (14/1) and the aforementioned Poyet (14/1) are all available with Betvictor, while Robbie Keane and Mick McCarthy are available at 20/1 each with  with new betting sites.

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Daire Walsh

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