Ireland’s Next Manager: Back to the Future with Big Mick

McCarthy rode the crest of a wave all the way to the 2002 World Cup with Ireland before

David Hollywood breaks down the options in hiring a new Rep. of Ireland Manager

The Republic of Ireland are looking for a new manager. Four games without a goal and over a year without a competitive victory did for Martin O’Neill and his management team.

The list of candidates for this post never fails to impress, amuse, and confuse in equal measures. If they can pry Harry from the jungle he’s once again found himself in the betting for this gig.

To be fair, it’s down to two candidates based on the early betting. The FAI’s decision will speak volumes about their intended direction and short vs long term ambition.

See Bar One Racing’s new Rep. of Ireland manager betting here

Bringing Big Mick Back

With the ulcer inducing Saipan saga fully digested, affection for Mick McCarthy has been on the rise for a number of years. His frank and comic press conference performances at Ipswich and Wolves prior to that have pushed his likeability ratings through the roof.

On a more serious level, McCarthy has never ruled out going for the national team job. Allied to his ever-lasting ambition to finish his work with Ireland, McCarthy has impressed in keeping Ipswich in the Championship. It’s surely no coincidence they find themselves rooted to the foot of the table in their first season without the Barnsley native.

Getting the most out of limited resources (players) is an absolute prerequisite when managing the ‘Boys in Green’. It’s in this particular field that McCarthy will find his main opposition for the gig.

The Case for Kenny

Appointing a League of Ireland manager as the permanent Ireland boss would be a sizeable statement of intent from the FAI. Is it one they’re capable of making?

There’s a case to be argued for it being an essential decision. With the Premier League no longer the breeding ground for new international prospects, and the Championship heading the same way, it’s high time Ireland built itself a purposeful domestic league.

What better advocate for that re-building process than Stephen Kenny? A glittering record at Dundalk is something to consider, as is their phenomenal run through the Europa League.

History has taught us to expect John Delaney and his colleagues to avoid depths unknown when self-preservation may be taking precedent.


A tumble-dryer of former managers will occupy our news feeds, radiowaves, and TV screens until the FAI pull the trigger on this one.

Sam Allardyce leads that merry band characters at a price of 22/1, other notables include Sven-Goran Eriksson at 28/1, as is Brian Kerr, and former Sligo Rovers manager and current Wigan gaffer Paul Cook 50/1.


A brave and enterprising football association could see Ireland’s current plight as an opportunity to re-structure and re-invent the national team and league. If any of that is on the FAI’s radar then Stephen Kenny (2/1) would be an exciting choice.

In reality, that would be uncharacteristic.

Expect Mick McCarthy to be brought in. He’ll be a popular appointment, he’ll likely find a good deal more performance from the current group, and if anything, he’ll be entertaining.

Next Permanent Manager of Republic of Ireland – Mick McCarthy 5/6

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