“It’s been an amazing journey.”
Stephen Kenny seemed like he made peace with his fate as Ireland manager in an emotional post-match interview after Ireland’s home draw with New Zealand.
A half-empty Aviva stadium clapped off the manager on Tuesday night as he seemed to say goodbye to fans alongside the retiring James McClean.
Speaking to RTÉ after the match, Kenny cut a reflective figure as he engaged in what could be his last interview as Ireland manager.
“This is the awkward question Stephen, you don’t know and I don’t know if you’re still the Ireland manager come next week,” said Tony O’Donoghue, asking if he thought it was fair to be put in that position.
The Ireland manager, who has overseen 40 matches over three and a half years, replied by saying he had “no complaints” as he waits to find out if he has been relieved of his duties following the team’s disappointing run in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.
“It may well be my last match, that has been well documented and if it is, so be it. I’ve had the privilege of managing my country. It’s been a huge privilege to see this group grow.”
The FAI are set to meet this week to formalise the departure of Kenny, with the focus then shifting on to who will take over the vacant role.
Asked if any other job could come close to being the manager of Ireland, he said: “No, nothing could ever. Irish supporters gave been great home and away.
“We’ve had full crowds at home and big crowds away. Because it’s been such a rebuild, we’ve had our setbacks but it’s been amazing to know every one of those players in the dressing room.”
‘There may not be the appetite’
Stephen Kenny admits that the FAI might be set to look elsewhere ahead of Ireland’s next game in 2024
? Post-match analysis on RTÉ 2 & RTÉ Player https://t.co/uHRfiPJEjQ
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) November 21, 2023
Stephen Kenny says it’s been a “great privilege” to manage Ireland.
In the interview, Kenny mentioned the players and their “upward trajectory” from when he took over the squad in 2020.
O’Donoghue then asked them if he thought the FAI should back him in further competitions considering the rise of some of the players under his reign, to which he replied honestly:
“There may not be the appetite for that and I respect that. Sport is ruthless and with international management, people get and I get that as they want to qualify for tournaments. I understand that.
“Obviously the board are meeting next week. They have a decision to make. I respect whatever decision they make.
“We will have to see. I’ve had amazing support from my staff and it’s been an amazing journey with the 21s and the last three years with the senior team.”
“It’s been an amazing journey and a great privilege.”
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