Mick McCarthy has said that he will “fully support” new Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny who succeeds the 61-year-old in the role.
McCarthy was contracted by the FAI until July 31st with U21 boss Kenny set to take over following the completion of Ireland’s Euro 2020 campaign. However, that plan was thrown into confusion following the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 which has seen the European Championships postponed until 2021.
On Saturday, it was confirmed by the FAI that Kenny will take up the mantle as senior manager with immediate effect.
While admitting that he is disappointed not to be able to complete the qualifying campaign he began, McCarthy told FAI TV that he understands the decision.
“I said December 2018 when I took the job that I’d be leaving on July 31st, come what may. Those discussions were based on us qualifying and maybe doing well in the Euros. I said I was leaving and that’s still the case, albeit of course, it’s been brought forward because of what’s happening worldwide.
“That is hugely disappointing but I understand it as well. It’s disappointing we can’t finish it off, I think we’ve had a really good campaign and we were almost there in November when we played Denmark, sadly we didn’t. The play-off’s been pushed back and I full understand it.
“Stephen’s been contracted to take over in August and good luck to him. He’ll get the chance now to qualify.”
November’s clash with Denmark saw the Republic of Ireland finish third in Group D, setting up a play-off against Slovakia. That game was due to be played at the end of last month but was postponed due to the Coronavirus.
While many Irish fans were frustrated with the qualifying campaign, McCarthy maintains that he was pleased with the return from his side.
“We lost one out of ten and the one we lost was in Switzerland away and they were the best team in the group.
“It’s been brilliant, I’ve loved being back, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, it’s been an absolute pleasure and an honour to do the job again. I think I’m leaving Stephen with a healthy balance to be quite honest.”
The former Ipswich also revealed that he fully intends to remain in the footballing sphere and is on the job hunt once again.
“Absolutely. This gives everyone clarity, the phone’s been going, asking what’s going to happen. To be fair, it’s real credit to Gary [Owens] and Roy [Barrett] that they’ve taken over and made this decision quickly.
“It’s an important decision and it’s only fair that Stephen gets his chance on October 1st. It’s bittersweet but I full support it.
“I’ll absolutely stay in football, I’ve no intention of leaving. I’m back on the market, I can look for a job with impunity.”
“I said to Roy that the only thing I’d ask for when leaving is a couple of tickets for next EUROs when we qualify.”
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