Monday, July 22, 2024

Republic of Ireland finally announce new head coach after seven-month search

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The Republic of Ireland have finally confirmed their new manager with former Iceland boss Heimir Hallgrimsson appointed after a seven-month search.

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) had been seeking a permanent successor to Stephen Kenny since electing not to renew the manager’s contract last November.

It followed a difficult qualifying campaign that saw Kenny’s side miss out on qualification for Euro 2024, finishing fourth in their group and winning points only against minnows Gibraltar.

John O’Shea had fulfilled the role on an interim basis while the FAI explored a variety of candidates, with the former Manchester United defender considered also as a possibility to take the job full-time.

But a new permanent manager has now been appointed in Hallgrimsson, who was sacked by Jamaica after their exit from the Copa America and helped steer his native Iceland to a shock victory over England at Euro 2016.

The 57-year-old’s first game in charge will be the meeting with England on September 7.

“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,” Hallgrimsson said.

Heimir Hallgrimsson has been appointed manager of the Republic of Ireland
Heimir Hallgrimsson has been appointed manager of the Republic of Ireland (Getty Images)

“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.”

Hallgrimsson co-managed Iceland with Lars Lagerback between 2013 and 2016, balancing his coaching work with serving as a dentist in his local village.

He stepped up to take sole charge of the nation shortly after stunning England in Nice, guiding them to the World Cup in Russia.

John O’Shea had been in interim charge of the Republic of Ireland
John O’Shea had been in interim charge of the Republic of Ireland (PA Wire)

After a period in club management in Qatar, Hallgrimsson took over Jamaica in 2022 but had his tenure ended by three group stage defeats at the Copa America last month.

“We are thrilled to announce Heimir as our new head coach,” said Mark Canham, the FAI’s director of football. “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.”

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