No decision on McCarthy-Kenny succession plan until June at the earliest, says Quinn

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Brian Adam
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Niall Quinn insists the Football Association of Ireland won’t decide on Mick McCarthy’s future until after the Euro play-off in June.

Uefa today deferred the play-off semi-final in Slovakia from March 26 due to the Covid-19 pandemic which complicates the managerial succession plan hatched by former FAI chief executive John Delaney.

Delaney’s decision saw McCarthy return to the hot seat in November 2018 on a one-campaign basis with the job specification of reaching Euro 2020.

Former Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny was to take the U21 post until August 2020, when he’d be promoted to replace McCarthy.

However, those best-laid plans have been mothballed by these unforeseen and unprecedented medical events.

If McCarthy hurdles through the play-offs, including the final against either Bosnia-Herzegovina or Northern Ireland, he would expect to be allowed complete his mission at the postponed finals in June 2021.

Kenny’s camp, conversely, can righty point to the contract terms stating his ultimate job of managing his country’s senior team was to begin in five months’ time.

The conundrum will have to be carefully managed by the FAI’s new regime, led by independent chairman Roy Barrett and interim chief executive Gary Owens.

Niall Quinn, who played for McCarthy during his first stint at the helm, will also have a part to play in his role as interim deputy chief executive.

“There’s no point in trying to do something about that now,” Quinn told FAI TV about the succession plan.

“We won’t know until June 10 whether we’re going to the Euros or not. That’s a good time to start worrying, or overly worrying, about that particular instance.

“We’ll do that at the right time. We’ll speak to the stakeholders first; not talking publicly until the right time.”

Former Sunderland chairman Quinn agrees with Uefa’s decision to suspend fixtures but isn’t totally convinced about the timeline to resume games.

Should the crisis deepen, it could be autumn before the play-off is contested, creating more problems for the managerial handover.

He said: “Putting the finals back a year gives everyone breathing space at a really difficult time, an unprecedented time and one where the health of our players, fans and everyone in the footballing family of Europe is at stake.

“They have aspirations around the build-up to that and how it falls into place; the qualification and they also have aspirations about completing domestic leagues.

“It’s a big ask but the hard work starts now and the consultation process starts now but we are very pleased to get clarity on where we need to be at this awful time.

“There is a realistic play-off target to aim for. Will it happen, will the medical world allow it, will the HSE and Government allow fans and players to travel? We don’t want to put anyone in danger, that’s the first thing.

“But if there is a lift and a possibility of those games going ahead, it augurs well that we have definite dates and times and that we’ll know our fate by June 10.”


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