Stephen Kenny’s reign as Republic of Ireland boss has been tumultuous to say the least. He was bought in as Mick McCarthy’s replacement to reshape Irish football and turn them into a side that plays possession-based attacking football while bringing through fresh young talent. Sadly, it hasn’t worked out that way for them in the slightest. In his 16 games in charge, he has won just one game, drawn eight and lost seven. Atrocious results like an embarrassing 1-0 home loss to Luxembourg and a 1-1 draw with Azerbaijan have highlighted an awful World Cup qualifying campaign leading to many calling for Kenny’s head. His potential replacement has been touted as multiple different options, and according to odds presented by www.topratedcasinos.ie, here are the current favourites to take the job:
The former Celtic and Hibernian manager left his role at the Bhoys for a second time in February 2021 after it became clear that he would not be able to lead them to their 10th consecutive Scottish Premier League title. The Northern Irishman may not be the most popular choice for Boys in Green fans, but at 6/4, he is the current favourite to take the job. His record at Celtic in his first stint was stellar, winning five league titles and five domestic cup trophies, but his recent time in charge left a little to be desired. Since he left Celtic in February, Lennon has been outspoken about his intention to return to the dugout, and the bookies have him in pole position to replace Kenny.
The Former Ireland, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest assistant manager hasn’t led his own side since being sacked by Ipswich in January of 2011. He has since carved out a career as a divisive pundit for Sky Sports, garnering a lot of attention for his no nonsense analysis and his comical back and forth with Micah Richards. Keane loved representing his country and may see leading his nation as a job that’s too good to turn down, which is why he is second favourite to take the job behind Lennon at odds of 11/2. It may be that he is enjoying his role at Sky Sports too much to take the job, and with it being 10 year ars since he was last in the management hot seat, he would present a serious risk for the Football Association of Ireland decision makers.
Andrews currently features in third place in the betting odds at 13/2. The former Bolton, Blackburn and Milton Keynes Dons midfielder worked with Kenny at the U21 level and has plenty of experience working with this current crop of players and the current assistant manager to Kenny played 35 times for the Republic of Ireland. However, he has never had a senior management role in his young coaching career, meaning he too would be an incredible risk to turn things around for Ireland.
The legendary striker is one of Ireland’s greatest ever players and is the country’s highest scorer and most capped player, with 68 goals in 146 appearances. Like Andrews, he is still very new to the management game having led Indian side ATK as a player-manager for three games and being an assistant manager under Mick McCarthy for Republic of Ireland from 2018-2020 and under Jonathan Woodgate at Middlesborough from 2019-2020. In March of this year, former Ireland international Stephen Elliott backed him as Kenny’s replacement were the current manager relieved of his duties, tweeting that he “could potentially inspire young players” and that Keane “would surely have to be in the mix”. He is currently 7/1 to be the next permanent manager of Ireland.
While he would certainly present a different style of football to what was promised when Kenny was hired, there’s no doubting ‘Big Sam’ when it comes to getting results. The Journeyman manager has been out of work since leaving West Brom at the end of last season and his credentials undoubtedly outweigh the other names on this list. His last stint in international management famously ended in acrimonious circumstances, lasting just 67 days and one match after he left due to mutual consent following allegations of malpractice. At 9/1, he is a bit of an outside bet to replace Kenny, but Allardyce, who also managed Everton, Crystal Palace, Sunderland, West Ham, Blackburn Newcastle and Bolton has years of experience to lean on were he to take the job and has shown everywhere he’s been that he has a knack of getting teams to perform beyond their means, something that could put him in good stead were he to get the Ireland job.
Also coming in at odds of 9/1, Hughton, who played 53 times for the Republic of Ireland, is another outside bet with years of managerial experience behind him. His time at Brighton was mostly successful, guiding them to an automatic promotion from the Championship in 2017 and keeping them in the Premier League in the 2017/18 season. However, he was recently sacked by Nottingham Forest following a dire start to the Championship season, in which his side gained just one point from their opening seven games.
Howe is a true outside bet at 25/1, as he may be looking for a slightly more high-profile job. He was rightly lauded for his excellent work he did at Bournemouth, famously taking them from the bottom of League 2 to the Premier League. If Ireland were able to coax him into taking the job, he would be seen as a real coup, as his reputation is still very good despite a poor finish to his tenure on the south coast of England.
Other options that have been listed by the bookies are Damien Duff at 8/1, former Northern Ireland manager and current Stoke boss Michael O’ Neil at 14/1, current Ireland U21 boss Jim Crawford at 22/1, Inter Miami and former England women’s manager Phil Neville at 25/1 and former Ireland Goalkeeper Shay Given at 25/1.