FOOTBALL

Ireland appoint Kenny early as McCarthy steps down

Mick McCarthy has stepped aside as Republic of Ireland manager to allow Stephen Kenny to take the role earlier than planned.

Ireland make early Kenny appointment as McCarthy steps down

Stephen Kenny has replaced Mick McCarthy as Republic of Ireland manager, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) announced on Saturday.

Kenny takes over from McCarthy early after Euro 2020 play-offs delayed over coronavirus

The former Dundalk boss was primed to take the helm after Euro 2020, but the postponement of that tournament to next year amid the coronavirus pandemic has forced the FAI's hand.

Ireland face Slovakia in the play-offs for the continental competition, but that tie is also subject to an indefinite delay.

McCarthy, whose contract was due to expire on 31 July, has therefore stepped aside early, with Under-21s boss Kenny officially taking on the role earlier than his previous start date of 1 August.

"This move allows Stephen Kenny time to plan for the European Championship play-off semi-final"

"The Football Association of Ireland announces that Mick McCarthy is to be succeeded as national team manager by Stephen Kenny with immediate effect," read a statement from the governing body.

"The handover has been agreed with both men in light of the delay to the European Championship play-offs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Mick McCarthy's contract was due to expire on July 31 after the UEFA Euro 2020 finals, with Stephen initially scheduled to step up from his Under-21 team role on August 1.

"This move allows Stephen Kenny time to plan for the European Championship play-off semi-final against Slovakia later in the year."