Monday, July 22, 2024

Hallgrimsson appointed as Ireland manager

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Heimir Hallgrimsson has been appointed Republic of Ireland manager following an eight-month recruitment process.

Hallgrimsson was Iceland’s joint-manager when they famously beat England in Euro 2016.

He was most recently manager of Jamaica since September 2022, leaving the post after they exited the Copa America in the last fortnight.

The task of replacing former Ireland boss Stephen Kenny, who departed last November, proved a difficult one for the FAI.

John O’Shea had two interim spells as boss.

England Under-21 manager Lee Carsley was believed to have been the FAI’s initial preferred target but he ruled himself out of the running.

Neil Lennon, Chris Coleman, Chris Hughton and former Greece boss Gus Poyet have all be linked with the vacancy at various times.

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Georgia manager Willy Sagnol was also thought to be in the frame, but their progression to Euro 2024 cast doubt on that.

Hallgrimsson, who also practiced for many years as a dentist, emerged as the shock appointment this afternoon and will take charge of his first game in September’s Nations League encounter against England.

The 57-year-old said: “It is an honour to be appointed today. Ireland is rightly a proud footballing nation which has consistently produced talented players and enjoyed many memorable moments at major international tournaments.

“We have a young and exciting team that has genuine potential. I am looking forward to working closely with the players to help coach and guide them towards improved performances and results ensuring we qualify and compete at major tournaments on a regular basis.

“We have important and exciting games coming up in the UEFA Nations League later this year and a massive FIFA World Cup qualification campaign coming up next year.

“Finally, I am also looking forward to getting to know the people of Ireland and in particular the wonderful fans of Irish football. It is my responsibility to coach, prepare and develop our team as best as possible to deliver results on the pitch and to make our supporters happy and proud.”

Heimir Hallgrímsson and Marc Canham in Dublin today

FAI director of football Marc Canham has claimed Hallgrimsson became Ireland’s number one target at the start of 2024: “We are thrilled to announce Heimir as our new head coach. Earlier this year, we identified Heimir as our number one candidate whose capabilities and experience aligned with our criteria.

“Not only does Heimir have significant experience at international level with two different countries, but crucially he also has a track record of qualifying for major international tournaments and taking teams up the FIFA world rankings.

“It was also important for us that we recruited a head coach who is interested in the overall development of football in Ireland as outlined in the FAI’s football pathways plan and in particular someone who is interested in the development of our underage international teams both of which Heimir is hugely passionate about.”

Hallgrimsson’s international experience started with Iceland, where he was first assistant manager to Lars Lagerback from 2011 to 2013, joint head coach alongside Lagerback until 2016 and then sole head coach from 2016 to 2018.

His time at the helm of the Iceland coincided with one of their most successful periods, famously reaching the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, eliminating England in the last 16.

In this time Iceland also qualified for the 2018 World Cup and reached a qualification play-off for the 2014 World Cup. Over the course of his time with Iceland, the team reached its highest ever FIFA ranking of 18th.

Most recently, he led Jamaica to qualification for this summer’s Copa America.

They exited at the group phase after losses to Mexico, Venezuela and Ecuador.

The new Ireland boss will be formally unveiled at a press briefing in Dublin on Thursday.


Watch England v Republic of Ireland in Women’s Euro 2025 qualifying on Friday from 7.35pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player. Follow a live blog on rte.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app and listen to live commentary on 2fm’s Game On

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