Monday, May 27, 2024

John O’Shea to take Ireland reins for June friendlies

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John O’Shea will continue to act as Republic of Ireland head coach on an interim basis for the June friendlies against Hungary and Portugal.

The Waterford man oversaw the draw with Belgium and subsequent 1-0 defeat to Switzerland in March as the FAI continued their search for a permanent successor to Stephen Kenny.

Last week, FAI director of foootball Marc Canham apologised to supporters for the delay in appointing a new manager but admitted an appointment may not be made until September.

O’Shea has agreed to bridge the gap. Assistant coaches Paddy McCarthy and Glenn Whelan will stay on the ticket, as will goalkeeping coach Rene Gilmartin, analyst Stephen Rice and athletic performance coach Damien Doyle.

However technical advisor Brian Kerr will not be part of the back-room team due to what he described as “personal and professional commitments” that he’d made some time ago.

Ireland will face the Hungarians at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday 4 June, before flying to Aveiro to take on Portugal seven days later.

“I’m looking forward to continuing as interim head coach for two great games in June against Hungary and Portugal,” said O’Shea.

“I have been in contact with Marc Canham since the March fixtures and last week, he asked me about stepping in again and as I said before, it is always an honour to represent your country so delighted to continue as interim head coach for June and the work will begin straight away.

“We will be missing Brian for the two matches in June unfortunately due to commitments elsewhere. He was a fantastic influence in the March window, we will miss his input and expertise for the two matches, and I’d like to thank him for his efforts.”

Canham reiterated the FAI’s intention to bring in a new boss ahead of the opening UEFA Nations League game against England in Dublin on 7 September.

“As confirmed last week, the process to appoint a new head coach for our senior men’s team will be concluded ahead of the start of the UEFA Nations League,” he said.

“I’ve kept in contact with John since the March fixtures and we’re really thankful to John for extending his spell as interim head coach as well as his coaching and performance staff Paddy McCarthy, Glenn Whelan, Rene Gilmartin, Damien Doyle and Stephen Rice.

“We’re very pleased with what John and the team were able to achieve in the March friendlies and the June fixtures represents another exciting challenge for the team.”

Elaborating on his absence from the upcoming camp, Kerr added: “It wasn’t possible for me to rejoin the coaching team this time around on account of commitments – personal and professional – that I’d made some time ago.

“I thoroughly enjoyed working with John and the very professional coaching group last month and I wish them well with these next matches in June. Irish football, it’s welfare, remains a great passion for me.”

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