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Marc Canham and Packie Bonner, who are leading the search for the next Ireland men's manager. Ryan Byrne/INPHO
on and on it goes

FAI: No permanent manager until September, 'hope' to appoint O'Shea as interim for June games

Canham apologised and acknowledged supporters’ frustration around a process that began in November last year.

DIRECTOR OF FOOTBALL Marc Canham says the FAI now hope to have a new permanent manager for the Ireland men’s team in time for the Nations League game with England in September, in the Association’s latest admitted failure in their search for Stephen Kenny’s successor. 

Canham delivered the news via an in-house interview with the FAI. He was not made available for media interviews. 

It means that the FAI will appoint an interim candidate for the friendlies with Hungary and Portugal on 4 and 11 June. Canham says the FAI “hope” that interim candidate will be John O’Shea, but they have yet to agree a deal with O’Shea for those games. 

Stephen Kenny’s contract officially ended on 22 November last year, with the FAI saying they hoped to have a permanent replacement appointed by 8 February, for the Nations League draw. When that failed, O’Shea was drafted into interim charge for the March friendlies, with Canham saying on 4 March a permanent appointment would be made in “early April”. An announcement before then was precluded by what Canham said were “existing contractual obligations.” There was no reference to this in Canham’s interview with FAI TV.

“The process has not concluded and will remain ongoing”, Canham told his employers’ media team. “We recognise that is not the news people wanted to hear today, and that may be disappointing to hear. We are committed to finding the best person for our men’s national team and Irish football.”


Canham said the delays were down to finding a candidate who fit their criteria and the “competitiveness of the market.” 

“We want someone to come in and improve the team and make us competitive, we want a good mixture of club and international experience and we are clear on the vision we want to hear.” 

Canham admitted regret at setting previous deadlines for the process. 

“We recognise the deadlines we have previously set have created a sense of expectation and potentially confusion for everyone”, he said. “In hindsight we would not set those deadlines if we were doing this again. We recognise and apologise for this, but ultimately we believe this process will result in us finding the best person for the job. 

“We accept that and we understand we had a massive responsibility to appoint the right person. that’s why we are taking our time and not rushing. We recognise the frustration that people will have around that.” 

Canham has been involved in the search for the next manager along with board member Packie Bonner and president Paul Cooke. CEO Jonathan Hill was also prominently involved but he will leave the organisation on 30 April, so interim CEO David Courell will now become part of the process. 


Written by Gavin Cooney and posted on

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