Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Tight run-in to September a ‘worry’ for next Irish boss

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The lack of time the next Republic of Ireland manager will get before tackling a daunting start to the UEFA Nations League is the biggest concern going forward as the wait for an appointment gets set to stretch beyond the summer, according to former Sheffield Wednesday, UCD and Shamrock Rovers midfielder Paul Corry.

On Friday, the FAI’s director of football Marc Canham issued an apology to Boys in Green supporters and confirmed that a permanent successor to Stephen Kenny will not be in place until the lead in to the UEFA Nations League which will kick off with a fixture against England on 7 September.

That means, just like in March, the June friendly window will have to be led by an interim head coach, with John O’Shea the favoured candidate to take the reins again.

The new September deadline also means that the Irish men’s senior team won’t have had a permanent manager for about ten months.

Speaking on the RTÉ Soccer Podcast about the new timeline imposed on the convoluted process, ex-Ireland Under-17 international Corry expressed a degree of sympathy for Canham but pointed out that not giving the next manager a prior window to bed in ideas will make it difficult to start September’s competitive schedule on the right footing.

“I’m actually starting to feel a little bit for Marc Canham,” he said. “I’d imagine what’s happened here is that somebody has maybe verbally agreed to take the job and then has maybe burned him further down the line and that timeline he put on himself has actually come back to shoot himself in the foot.

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“So I do have a little bit of sympathy for Marc Canham and the FAI, in the sense of that situation, but also due to the fact that their hands are somewhat tied with what they’re able to offer a manager. Financially, they’re working within a parameter that maybe just isn’t attractive to a number of managers out there and maybe the type of candidate that they want isn’t fitting into that budget.”

Canham had suggested an early April appointment but clearly that has passed and with June set to be another period of footballing purgatory amid fixtures against Portugal and Hungary, time constraints could hamper the next man in as things stand when September comes.

“What worries me is the fact that whoever gets this job is then going to be heading into competitive fixtures in the Nations League and they don’t get time to work with the players or work a system or get to know the squad as a whole,” said Corry.

“And when you mangle all of that together, it doesn’t look like the most clean, efficient organisation [of the process] right now and that would be the worry for many people.

“But when I’ve had a bit of time to reflect over the weekend, I actually do feel a little for Marc Canham. I’m sure if he could go back, he wouldn’t put those timelines on himself.

“The irony of this situation is he’s put another timeline on himself for September. So you would like to think he doesn’t miss that one.”

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