FAI chairman Roy Barrett gives his backing to under fire manager Stephen Kenny

Captain Seamus Coleman says the players must take the blame and not hide behind the manager
FAI chairman Roy Barrett gives his backing to under fire manager Stephen Kenny

Ireland's Seamus Coleman dejected at the end of the game

FAI chairman Roy Barrett has given his backing to beleaguered Ireland manager Stephen Kenny, insisting last night’s defeat to lowly Luxembourg was merely a set-back.

The senior team under Kenny’s watch have yet to win after 10 games, scoring just three goals, and all but out of World Cup qualification after their opening pair of matches.

Barrett only joined the FAI in January 2020 following the succession plan hatched by former chief executive John Delaney but was supportive of fast-tracking his promotion from the U21 post once Covid-19 delayed the European Championship play-off.

While admitting the FAI will carry out a routine of review, as is the norm after every international window, Barrett said Kenny’s future was not on the agenda for any upcoming board meeting.

“Speaking personally, my position hasn’t changed,” the Goodbody Stockbrokers MD said when asked after today’s FAI EGM which passed four governance resolutions.

“The only thing Stephen should be worried about is Tuesday’s match is Qatar. That’s where the focus is on. One game isn’t going to throw everything up in the air.

“No doubt this has been a difficult year for Stephen, his staff and the team itself, with everything thrown at them.

FAI Independent Chairperson Roy Barrett during the FAI EGM at FAI Headquarters at the Sports Campus Ireland in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
FAI Independent Chairperson Roy Barrett during the FAI EGM at FAI Headquarters at the Sports Campus Ireland in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

“My observation is they’ve shown professionalism and resilience. We support them fully going into Tuesday’s game and there will be a review after that. 

"That assessment is pretty normal after every window.”

Meanwhile, Irish captain Séamus Coleman described Ireland’s performance in their defeat to Luxembourg as “embarrassing,” saying that the players “need to take a look at themselves,” after failing to “show pride in the shirt”.

The Irish captain looked shocked by the result and the display as he spoke on television shortly after the game finished while accepting a “man of the match” award. 

He looked uncomfortable about that too and said that while he had to do the interview: “I’ve got no words. It’s nowhere near what we wanted.

“It’s a shocking result,” said the defender. 

“An embarrassing result and let’s not hide behind anyone else here. That’s on us as players. We should be embarrassed.”

The 32-year-old said that he was at a bit of a loss as to how things had gone so poorly but, he suggested: “As players we need to have a long look at ourselves. You need to have people demanding the ball at times. I don’t think we did that enough. 

"If people are building up on one side, you need people wanting it on the other side and I didn’t hear enough voices out there.

“Listen, there’s anger, embarrassment (in the dressing room). It’s not good enough. I can’t speak for any other player but it’s about trying to get on the ball, trying to demand it. 

"They (Luxembourg) got the goal, a sucker punch, but I can’t say we deserved anything out of the game either.”

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