Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has been appointed Republic of Ireland Under-21 manager and will replace Mick McCarthy after the Euro 2020 finals. It comes after two League of Ireland clubs released statements endorsing Kenny for the top job, a move Stephen Hunt has strongly criticised.
Last Friday, St Patrick’s Athletic and Derry City both released statements in support of Kenny replacing Martin O'Neill. St Pat's cited the 47-year-old's "experience, knowledge, commitment and intellect" as just reason for his appointment. They also claimed it would be "a boost for both the grassroots and domestic leagues."
However, former Republic of Ireland Hunt has slammed the move as "nonsense" and argued it is none of their business.
In his Sunday Independent column headlined 'Embarrassing Pat's and Derry moves set league back another few years', he said: "the League of Ireland clubs who tweeted their support for Stephen Kenny to take over the senior manager's job are a disgrace and an embarrassment to football and the nation."
If you wonder why some people accuse the League of Ireland of being amateurish, here is a prime example of it. Can you imagine Premier League clubs coming out and backing Gareth Southgate for the England job? They just wouldn't do it- they would probably be fined or even suffer a points deduction.
"It's fine for pundits or ex-players to throw their weight behind one of the candidates, try to build momentum and explain why they would see the benefit of Mick McCarthy or Stephen Kenny in charge. But, quite frankly, it has nothing to do with League of Ireland clubs."
Kenny has coached at both Pat's and Derry in the past. The two clubs also stood together in 2016 when they opted to turn down a €5,000 grant from the FAI. Hunt did acknowledge there are "clearly issues between the FAI and League of Ireland clubs which need to be addressed" but believes this is not the way to resolve them.
Meanwhile, the FAI will announce the new reign of Mick McCarthy and Stephen Kenny at a press conference today. Kenny's role is believed to include overseeing talent from U15 to U19 as well as succeeding Noel King as Under-21 manager.
McCarthy will mentor Kenny with the FAI hoping to create a pathway for him to become the senior manager for the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.