The Football Association of Ireland have confirmed that Martin O’Neill has stepped down from his position as the national team manager following the country’s relegation in the UEFA Nations League.
Monday’s 0-0 draw with Denmark rounded off what was a terrible run of form for the Irish and with the fans voicing their displeasure at the style of play, a change was inevitable.
We’ve taken a look at the potential contenders to replace O’Neill:
Mick McCarthy is the early front-runner for the job. He remains out of work since leaving Ipswich and would undoubtedly be keen to get back into the game. He endured a mixed spell in charge of the Republic of Ireland between 1996 and 2002 but could be given a second crack at the job.
A lot of people have tipped Kenny for the role as he’s earned plenty of admirers at Dundalk. He has helped the club to four league titles during his time there and calls for him to replace O’Neill are growing stronger.
Sam Allardyce could be a controversial appointment after his spell with England, but he is another option who is out of work and could be tempted by an international return. The prospect of re-writing the wrongs of his time with England could be too good to turn down for Allardyce.
Bruce’s time at Aston Villa run its course earlier this season when he was replaced by Dean Smith. He may well be tempted by an international job during in the latter stages of his career.
As part of the managerial changes, Roy Keane has also stepped down from his position with Ireland. However, this has not stopped his name being mentioned for the number one job. Keane has talked up a return to management in the past and his name is one that is unlikely to go away.
Michael O’Neill was heavily linked with the Scotland job recently but turned it down to the stay with Northern Ireland. Following their struggles in the Nations League, he could also be on the move in the near future but that would be a hugely controversial move.
Paul Cook has earned plenty of plaudits for the job he has done at Wigan since taking over at the club. After arriving from Portsmouth, he helped the Latics win the League One title and is now aiming to establish them at Championship level once again.
The ex-Republic of Ireland international is a very highly rated coach and has been working with England’s U21s recently. Carsley is another that could be a controversial option, given his history working for the English FA in a role where part of his job was to convince players into picking England over Ireland.
Robbie Keane is a favourite among the Irish supporters and would undoubtedly be welcomed into the job, but questions would be raised about whether or not he is the man they need right now. The ex-striker is keen to launch a coaching career and could also be a contender for the number two role alongside a more experienced manager.
Harry Redknapp may be a little busy in the jungle at the moment, but that will not stop him being linked with a managerial return. He has not managed since his stint with Birmingham in 2017 but has previously enjoyed a short spell internationally with Jordan.
Herve Renard is a very highly regarded international manager and could be a surprise contender in the race to replace O’Neil. He has won the African Cup of Nations with both Zambia and the Ivory Coast and his work is not going unnoticed.
Brian Kerr is often linked with a return to the job, having managed Ireland between 2003 and 2005. His name has once again popped up in the list of potential replacements.
The ex-West Ham boss is out of work after leaving the London Stadium over the summer. He has been linked with a return to club management recently, but could also be tempted by an international position.
Lennon has recently been tipped for a return to Celtic following the job he has done at Hibernian. The 47-year-old is a controversial figure but being known for his man-management skills, he could reinvigorate the Ireland squad.
Paul Lambert may have only recently taken over at Championship strugglers Ipswich, but that has not stopped his name being mentioned for the Ireland job. Known for his defensive style of play, Lambert would certainly be someone who could organise the squad, but the FAI may be looking for a little more.