Stephen Kenny replaces Mick McCarthy as Republic of Ireland manager with immediate effect
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Stephen Kenny replaces Mick McCarthy as Republic of Ireland manager with immediate effect

STEPHEN KENNY has replaced Mick McCarthy as manager of the Republic of Ireland soccer team. 

The plan had been for Kenny, who was previously in charge of the Ireland Under-21 side, to replace McCarthy after the Euro 2020 finals on August 1st. 

Ireland had been due to face Slovakia in a qualifying play-off that would determine who faced either Northern Ireland or Bosnia and Herzegovina in a tie that would see the winner reach Euro 2020. 

However, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has seen these play-off fixtures twice postponed. 

Euro 2020, meanwhile, has been put back an entire year due to the virus outbreak. 

With that in mind, officials at Football Association Ireland have decided to bring Kenny in a few months early, given that the playoffs are unlikely to take place before the expiration of McCarthy’s contract. 

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Interim FAI CEO, Gary Owens, said: "This has been a difficult situation for the Association - and for Mick and Stephen in particular - in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the effect it has had on the football calendar. 

"On behalf of President Gerry McAnaney, the Board of the FAI and myself, I want to thank both men for their professionalism and their understanding in their dealings with the Association in these unprecedented circumstances. These are exceptional times in Irish life and Mick has taken that into account in agreeing to vacate the post early. 

"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. 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."