Mick McCarthy will “voluntarily step aside” from his position as Republic of Ireland manager before his contract expires if the team fails to reach Euro 2020, according to reports.
McCarthy is due to leave his post following the conclusion of the Euro 2020 campaign – either after the tournament ends in July, or if Ireland fail to qualify. He will be succeeded by Stephen Kenny, the current Ireland Under-21 coach.
The current Ireland boss also bluntly ruled out any suggestion that Kenny could shadow him at the tournament, should the team qualify.
Euro 2020 playoff
The national team must navigate a playoff double-header next month. They face Slovakia on March 26 and, if they win that tie, will play either Northern Ireland or Bosnia-Herzegovina five days later. McCarthy’s team will be away for both games.
According to reports on Sunday, should Ireland crash out next month, and fail to reach the tournament this summer, the succession plan will be moved forward. McCarthy would not remain in his post for any summer friendlies.
McCarthy’s contract is due to expire in July. According to The Sunday Times, however, he will “voluntarily step aside” should Ireland fail to qualify for Euro 2020.
That means his final game as Ireland manager could be the playoff against Slovakia in Bratislava. Or against either Northern Ireland or Bosnia in a playoff final.
If Ireland do not advance from those games, McCarthy will reportedly walk away from his post early and hand over the reins to Kenny.
Should the Boys in Green miss out on Euro 2020, they will play three friendlies in June. The Sunday Times report that Ireland will play two friendly matches in Austria and another at Thomond Park in Limerick. Kenny will be in charge for those games.
His final matches as Under-21 coach will be in March when Ireland play Iceland and Luxembourg. Ireland Under-21s are currently top of their qualifying group and need just two more wins to guarantee a playoff place.
McCarthy is said to have told the FAI’s new chairman, Roy Barrett, and the association’s new chief executive, Gary Owens, of his intention to voluntarily leave the post early, should the team fail to reach Euro 2020.
“It would be awkward for Stephen if I was still there for the June matches,” McCarthy said. “I’m hardly a small personality around the place. All those thoughts have crossed my mind.
The Ireland manager also bluntly ruled out the prospect of Kenny shadowing him at the tournament if Ireland qualify.
“If we qualify someone might say, would Stephen be with me at the Euros?” McCarthy told reporters in Dublin earlier this week.
“Not a chance. I’ll be as candid and as brutal as that. It won’t be happening.”