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Heimir Hallgrímsson succeeds Stephen Kenny as Ireland manager – The Irish Times

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has appointed Heimir Hallgrímsson as the new head coach of its men’s national team.

Hallgrímsson, a former Iceland and Jamaica coach, takes over 231 days after Stephen Kenny’s contract was not renewed following an unsuccessful Euro 2024 qualifying campaign. John O’Shea had been caretaker manager for four friendlies this year but his lack of experience prevented him from being seriously considered for the job.

The 57-year-old’s first game in charge will be on 7 September at the Aviva Stadium, the opening game of the Nations League against England. Greece will arrive in Dublin three days later.

“Ireland is rightly a proud footballing nation that has consistently produced talented players and enjoyed many memorable moments at major international tournaments,” said Hallgrímsson, who is holding a press conference at Aviva on Thursday afternoon.

“We have a young and exciting squad that has genuine potential. I look forward to working closely with the players to help coach and guide them towards improved performance and results that will enable us to qualify and compete in major tournaments on a regular basis.”

In a surprise announcement on Wednesday afternoon, FAI director of football Marc Canham claimed that “earlier this year” Hallgrímsson was identified as the “number one candidate” to succeed Kenny. Canham stated last March that a new manager would be announced in April. This could not have been the Icelander, as his Jamaican side have qualified for the Copa America in November 2023.

The Reggae Boyz failed to escape the group stages of the Cup after defeats to Mexico, Ecuador and Venezuela, a country that saw Hallgrímsson step down after 27 games.

He previously coached Iceland alongside Lars Lagerbach to a 2-1 win over England in the Euro 2016 round of 16 before guiding his country to the 2018 World Cup. He has also coached at club level with mediocre success in Iceland and Qatar.

Canham’s initial targets to replace Kenny are believed to be England Under-21 manager Lee Carsley, Georgia boss Willy Sagnol and former Ireland international Chris Hughton.

“We have important and exciting matches ahead of us in the UEFA Nations League later this year and a huge qualifying campaign for the FIFA World Cup next year,” said Hallgrímsson.

“I am also looking forward to meeting the people of Ireland and in particular the wonderful Irish football fans. It is my responsibility to train, prepare and develop our team to the best of our ability to deliver results on the pitch and make our supporters happy and proud.”

Canham added: “I would also like to thank and pay tribute to John O’Shea and his staff who have guided the team through the recent international friendlies, preparing them impeccably, creating a brilliant environment for the players and achieving positive results on the pitch.”

O’Shea’s Ireland beat Hungary, drew with Belgium but lost to Portugal and Switzerland. Hallgrímsson’s support team has yet to be confirmed but Canham has already stated that it could include the former Manchester United defender.

“This is an important day for Irish football with the announcement of Heimir as our new head coach,” said David Courell, interim FAI chief executive. “There has been a huge amount of interest in this appointment, which is ultimately a testament to how much people care about Irish football.

“We are delighted to have secured a manager with the experience we were looking for, but more importantly, one who shares our vision for Irish football. Heimir was the perfect candidate and I am very excited about what he will bring to the role.”

Hallgrímsson’s overall record as an international coach, in 53 games for Iceland and Jamaica, is W21 D12 L20.

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