Well as Keith Fitzsimons alluded to in his piece yesterday, it has been a tumultuous week in Irish football with a new national team manager in Mick McCarthy but his reign will only last until August 2020 when he will be succeeded by Stephen Kenny. A lot of the sport betting site in the UK had seen bets placed on Kenny to take over the first team but in the interim, Kenny will manage the Republic’s U-21 side whilst also overseeing the development of the other underage sides. This all means that Dundalk, fresh off winning the double, will now need a new manager.
Kenny was appointed in November 2012 and eight trophies later including four league titles he leaves a legacy that will be hard for anyone to follow. His departure also came somewhat out of the blue for the club after Kenny had initially turned down the FAI until they came back with the carrot of the first team job. The club have been tight-lipped so far since his departure but it does seem that Vinny Perth is the front-runner for the job. He doesn’t, however, have his UEFA Pro Licence which means someone with that qualification would have to be appointed to oversee the first team. Either way, it is a real crossroad moment for the club as they need to maintain the progress that was made under Kenny. For Kenny, it is great to see that all he has achieved with Dundalk has been recognised and he will in less than two years manage the senior men’s side having served out his apprenticeship.
New Sligo Rovers manager Liam Buckley is starting to put his stamp on the squad. The club announced that Regan Donelon and Kyle Callan-McFadden had signed new deals with the club for the 2019 season whilst also announcing the capture of striker Ronan Murray. Murray, who was with Dundalk last season, was previously with Galway United and Ipswich and is a native of Mayo so for him, it is a chance to move back closer to home. His capture has been widely welcomed by supporters, happy that one of the best strikers in the league will be strutting his stuff in the Showgrounds. Also in what is a progressive move, he has signed a two-year deal. Two players departing are Lewis Morrison and Seamus Sharkey. Shamrock Rovers also made a real statement of intent last week with the signing of Derry midfielder Aaron McEneff. He had been on Dundalk’s radar but opted instead to sign for Stephen Bradley’s side. Dundalk had looked to be nailed on certainties for the title next season but now with the departure of their king, it opens up the door for Shamrock and also Cork City.