Stephen Kenny has been managing the Republic of Ireland Under-21 side
New Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has said it is not a time to be celebrating getting the job due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
It was announced on Saturday that the 48-year-old has replaced Mick McCarthy at the helm.
Kenny’s promotion from Under-21 boss to senior manager was accelerated after the Republic’s Euro 2020 play-off was postponed indefinitely.
“It’s a good day for me but we’re not in celebratory mode,” he said.
“My thoughts are with the frontline workers – the doctors, nurses, paramedics and everyone. The self-sacrifices are heroic and we really support them,” he added.
Kenny was set to replace McCarthy, 61, after Euro 2020 but the postponement of the play-offs and the tournament itself until 2021 because of Covid-19 led the FAI to bring their plan forward.
McCarthy guided the Republic of Ireland to third place behind Switzerland and Denmark in Euro qualifying Group D
McCarthy was appointed for a second spell in charge in November 2018 and an FAI statement on Saturday said both he and Kenny had agreed the former Dundalk boss should take over.
“Mick has had a tremendous career as captain of Ireland and as manager of Ireland on two occasions,” Kenny said.
“It’s unfortunate for him with the cancellation of the matches but he leaves a legacy and is revered in Ireland. There have also been contributions over the last few years from Robbie Keane, Terry Connor and all of the staff.”
Kenny has brought former Republic internationals Damien Duff, Keith Andrews and Alan Kelly on to his coaching staff, with Jim Crawford succeeding him as Under-21 manager.
Kenny’s first match in charge will be the Republic’s European Championships play-off semi-final against Slovakia.
Originally scheduled for 26 March, it was this week postponed “until further notice” because of the coronavirus pandemic, having earlier been pushed back to June.