Stephen Kenny to remain in charge for remainder of Ireland’s qualifying campaign

Stephen Kenny to remain in charge for remainder of Ireland’s qualifying campaign

Stephen Kenny isn’t going anywhere…for now.

FAI CEO Jonathan Hill addressed the media today about the future of Ireland men’s senior team manager Stephen Kenny.

Kenny has been under intense pressure in recent days after his side fell to consecutive defeats against France and the Netherlands.

The results leave Ireland sat in fourth place in the Group B after five matches, one place behind Greece who the Boys in Green lost 2-1 to back in June.

It is understood that there is a divide in opinion within FAI HQ, with some wanting to sack Kenny as soon as possible, some wanting Kenny to have a dignified departure, and others hoping to see him given more time.

Jonathan Hill provides update on Stephen Kenny’s future.

“I am [saying he will be in charge], and for the final game in November against New Zealand,” replied FAI CEO Hill when asked if Kenny would oversee the final three qualifiers of Ireland’s campaign.

“It’s has been a tough Euro campaign which has seen us pitted against two of the best teams in the world.

“We want to qualify, the public want it, the FAI want it and Irish football needs it.

“We are disappointed to have lost the last two games and it will be discussed at the next FAI board meeting, as is always the case.

“While we might not have achieved the results we wanted, with qualification set as a goal at the outset, the manager and players are fully focused on preparing for the next games and will deliver.

“Once these matches are delivered we will conduct an in-depth review into the campaign, the board will then meet to consider the review and the next steps.”

No promises.

Interestingly however, Hill was unable to provide such clarity over whether Kenny would take charge in the event of an unlikely Euro play-off in March.

Ireland knew before the campaign that even if they finished bottom of the group, there was a possibility of making the Euros finals through this Nations League backdoor route.

Essentially, Ireland are hoping for all of the higher seeded Nations League nations to qualify through the traditional group method.

For example, should countries like Poland and Wales fail to finish in the top two of their group, then Ireland will be forced down a place in the race for a play-off.

Ireland currently have little more than a 10% chance of grabbing a play-off place, but still the FAI needed to have conversations about the possibility as it has implications on their managerial plans.

Tellingly perhaps, Hill was unable to assure Kenny that he will manage the team in that scenario, saying instead that a decision will be made after the November games:

“We will go through the games in October and November, review where we are and see what position we are in,” he said.