FORMER Celtic star Mick McCarthy today agreed a 2 year contract to return to his old job as Republic of Ireland manager and he has taken Robbie Keane with him as coach alongside Terry Connor.
McCarthy replaces the former Celtic manager Martin O’Neill who left the post, with his backroom staff including Roy Keane by mutual consent at the end of last week.
Ireland have moved fast to bring in the new management team and there seems to be a fair degree of forward planning involved.
The 59 year old former Celtic centre-half will take charge of the Republic for two years and then will be replaced by former Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny who has also been confirmed as the new Under-21s manager and will step-up to take over from McCarthy following the conclusion of Euro 2020.
Big Mick was delighted to be back in charge of the Republic.
“I’m honoured and excited to be back with the Republic of Ireland. I am delighted that the FAI Board and CEO have given me this opportunity to lead the team to Euro 2020.
“I have been involved in club football for the last 15 years, so this will be a new challenge but one that I know well.
“I’m delighted to have Terry Connor, a trusted colleague and excellent coach, and Robbie Keane, one of the finest players who I had the pleasure of managing, helping me as assistant coaches.
“I am looking forward to getting started and embracing this challenge to qualify for EURO 2020, where it would be fantastic to play in front of the Ireland supporters in Aviva Stadium.”
The irony in Roy Keane leaving his role at the national side and being replaced by McCarthy will be lost on no-one. The former Manchester United captain, who had a short spell at Celtic at the end of his playing career, stormed out of the Republic’s squad ahead of the 2002 World Cup.
McCarthy put the row and the abuse to one side and led the Republic to the last 16 of that tournament and his return to the job will be warmly welcomed by the supporters desperate for an upturn in form after a disappointing year.
Kenny, has built up quite a reputation at Dundalk where he has secured four of the last five League of Ireland titles.
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