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Kenny to meet Ireland squad remotely as he targets Qatar qualification


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New Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny is to meet with his squad for the first time next week, however he must do it remotely. 

Nothing around the former Dundalk boss' appointment has been what one might describe as normal, and his first chats with the squad won't change that.

"We'll be in contact with all of the players now through our Microsoft Teams, and we'll be in contact in the next week", the 48-year old told members of Down Syndrome Ireland via FAI TV.

He added, "We'll be speaking to player individually - all of the players who have been in the last couple of squads.

"It is difficult for everybody at this time, you can't meet anyone and that makes it difficult... but hopefully that improves".

Behind closed doors

Another remote meeting - this time between UEFA and its 55 member nations earlier this week - decided that it's unlikely Kenny's first game will take place before the autumn.

The Euro 2020 playoff with Slovakia in Bratislava is pencilled in for October, with the UEFA Nations League due to get underway a month prior.

It's unlikely the game in the Slovak capital will have fans present, with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic set to be felt into the second half of the year.

"No-one wants to play behind closed doors", Kenny said on Friday, "But if that happens you have to deal with it, and you have to adapt.

"In life you do have to adapt.

"What might happen is you have World Cup qualifiers in March - what happens to those? You can only play in the international windows.

"So if that happens and we have to play behind closed doors, we have to meet that challenge head-on and just prepare accordingly."

Privilege 

Kenny admits he's "dreaming" about his first time walking out into the Aviva Stadium as Ireland manager.

"That's a terrific occasion as a manager to walk into a full house.

"We play Finland in September, and that will be really special. And after that you're thinking about a season of full houses.

"Between the Nations League, the European Championship qualifiers and the World Cup qualifiers - I'm so privileged to have a season like that as Ireland manager and I can't wait to get started."

Qatar 2022

By the time the next World Cup rolls around, it will be 20-years since Ireland's last performance on football's greatest stage.

Kenny is determined to be the man to bridge that gap.

"To get to a World Cup is difficult, but that is a serious ambition for everyone in Ireland", he said.

"We haven't been there in 20-years since Japan and Korea. It's the pinnacle of players' careers.

"Ireland have only ever qualified for three in their history. For sure, it's not easy but we have to believe we can get there, and do everything within our power to get to the major tournaments."

FAI & Down Syndrome Ireland Q&A

The FAI and Down Syndrome Ireland have teamed up to give some of Ireland’s biggest football fans the chance to quiz new Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny and World Cup legend Niall Quinn!

New boss Kenny and former international striker Quinn, now Interim Deputy CEO with the FAI, will take questions from DSI members all across Ireland in this unique webcast event, from 13:30 today!

Posted by FAIreland on Friday, April 24, 2020


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Down Syndrome Ireland Euro 2020 FAI Qatar 2022 Republic Of Ireland Slovakia Stephen Kenny Uefa Nations League World Cup

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