The FAI’s Interim CEO Gary Owens has outlined that he is hopeful Ireland’s European Championship playoff can take place in November to give new manager Stephen Kenny time with his new squad.
The game in Bratislava against Slovakia had been set for the end of March but was postponed until June before being suspended indefinitely by UEFA due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Kenny will be the manager for that game, regardless of when it takes place after the FAI confirmed that Mick McCarthy would be stepping away from his role with immediate effect to allow the former Dundalk boss the chance to step in.
Speaking to FAItv on Sunday, Owens outlined that he would like the playoff to be as late as possible, with the Association targeting the November break as a potential date for the game.
This would give Kenny plenty of time to get equipped with his new squad ahead of the crucial clash.
“I’d like the playoff as late as we can”, Owens revealed. “We have been trying to get the playoff in the November series, rather than in September or October. That would give Stephen and his team the chance to play some friendlies and Nations League matches in advance of the Play-Off.
“It’s going to be a very busy and exciting time. You’re going to have nine matches in the Autumn, followed by the World Cup [Qualifiers] next year.”
The FAI also confirmed that Kenny will be joined by his assistant from the U21s, Keith Andrews, in the Irish senior dugout while Damien Duff will also be a part of the coaching staff.
Jim Crawford will step in to take over as the U21 manager and will have former Ireland and Manchester United defender John O’Shea as his assistant.
“Everyone at the FAI is delighted with Jim’s promotion to manager from assistant and he has a great number two now in John O’Shea as he takes the next step on his coaching career,” added Owens.
“On behalf of President Gerry McAnaney, the Board of the FAI and myself, I wish Stephen, Jim and their coaching teams the very best of luck in their new roles. We know they will do Irish football proud”.