Englishman Colin Bell has been announced as the new manager of the Republic of Ireland Women’s team. Bell, a Women’s Champions League winner, is a major coup for the FAI.
Bell replaces Sue Ronan who stood down last year after six years at the helm. Ronan failed to qualify for a major competition during her time in charge but remains a well respected figurehead in Irish football and an integral part of the women’s game.
The 52-year-old will take up the newly developed role as head of women’s football in the FAI where her experienced influence will be utilised. Ronan replaced Noel King as Ireland women’s manager after the current Irish under-21 boss spent ten years in charge of the girls in green.
Englishman Bell will start his new role on Monday and comes into the job with a strong reputation in both the men’s and women’s game. After a brief playing career with FSV Mainz, Bell became a coach at 29 with TuS Koblenz and returned to Mainz as a coach working under Jurgen Klopp. Bell has been invloved in the women’s game since 2011 and brings one of the highest accolades to the table.
In 2015, Bell’s Frankfurt side won the women’s Champions League with his stock significantly growing as a manager. He left Germany to take up the position of manager at Avaldsnes IL, one of the top teams in Sweden. With international ambitions of his own, Bell takes over a young and exciting Ireland side who will be hoping to build on a disappointing Euro 2017 campaign.
The Irish boast a youthful and skillful side with many of the stars from the 2010 under-17 World Cup now making up the backbone of the team. With exciting players like Denise O’Sullivan, Aine O’Gorman and Stephanie Roach not to mention the experience of Emma Byrne to choose from; Bell will be hoping to get the best out of such a talented group and guide them to their first ever major tournament.
Nick Menezes, Pundit Arena
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