The FAI (Football Association of Ireland) CEO Jonathan Hill has claimed that the organisation's plan is to have a new Ireland manager in place before the two international windows in March and June next year. Stephen Kenny has been relieved of his role as the Ireland manager, and the search for a replacement is underway.
Hill ideally wants the new manager to be in place by around February so that the person in charge can build and grow the team for the 2028 European Championships, set to take place in the UK and Ireland.
“The sooner we can get an appointment made, the better,” said Hill at Saturday’s AGM. “But we won't rush the process. We have made a really good start already, but we would like to get them in place so they can start getting their coaching team together and start thinking about their opponents in March and June. By February, we will know who their opponents are for the Nations League."
“As we all know, the Nations League is very important in relation to future qualification processes for future tournaments. From February, you definitely want someone working full time in relation to those opponents.”
Names like Steve Bruce, Lee Carsley, and Roy Keane have all been linked with the Ireland job so far. Hill was asked about potential candidates but refused to comment on speculation or disclose any names during the AGM.
“I think that's unfair for me to confirm one way or the other, as you may be able to infer who it is we've spoken to,” added Hill.
Nevertheless, Director of football Marc Canham is helping the FAI in finding a successor for Kenny. Hill wants Canham to choose the best candidate and believes he will succeed in doing so.
"We want the best person for the job. That's the profile for it, and it is as simple as that," Hill said. “Marc Canham, who is helping with the process, has a real feel for the type of head coach he would like. Whoever we choose, we would like a Head Coach who is motivated to look at all of our underage teams as well and work to create an approach everyone buys into.”
The organisation is also on the hunt for a new full-time manager for the women's team since Vera Pauw left the role. Eileen Gleeson has stepped in on an interim basis and will now return to her role as Head of Women and Girls Football with the FAI. Hill confirmed in the AGM on Saturday that the search for a new manager is nearly over.
Hill said: “We are close to making an appointment.”