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Mary Hannigan: FAI executives face busy media briefing over Pauw’s exit and Kenny’s future

Also, all the latest Irish rugby news including Sexton’s expected start against Tonga, and, in Gaelic games, a look at the dominant clubs around the country

FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill and the FAI have been criticised for allowing the decision not to reappoint Vera Pauw go unexplained since August 29th. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Good morning,

With Vera Pauw’s Republic of Ireland reign already ended and with continuing doubts over Stephen Kenny’s future in his role, there’ll be no shortage of questions for FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill and director of football Marc Canham when they hold a media briefing in Abbotstown this morning.

Gavin Cummiskey takes us through the issues that they will be asked to address, not least the allegations levelled at Hill by Pauw, among them that he reneged on a “promised offer” of a contract extension before the World Cup.

Life goes on, though, in the women’s set-up, the interim coaching team completed yesterday with the announcement that Emma Byrne and Colin Healy will assist Eileen Gleeson for the opening two games of their Nations League campaign, after which a permanent successor to Pauw will be appointed.


If the FAI are feeling a bit headachy in this weather, that’s nothing compared to how Johnny Watterson felt when he had to return a glass of wine that he had purchased in Bordeaux after it caused “a gag reflex”. Also starring in his World Cup diary are Sean South, Delilah, a Zen Space and F Scott Fitzgerald.

While Johnny recovered from his dodgy Saint-Emilion, Gerry Thornley was busy bringing news from the Irish camp ahead of Saturday’s game against Tonga, in which he expects Johnny Sexton to start. Tadhg Beirne will hope to feature too, but first he will need to recover from the ordeal of having to wear a suit for his appearance before the media, punishment for being “a couple of seconds” late for a team meeting. “There’s a bit of a dictatorship going on in camp at the moment,” he revealed.

Up in Paris, meanwhile, John O’Sullivan was monitoring Tonga’s preparations for the game, hearing from their forwards coach Zane Hilton. “Beneath the politeness,” he writes, “Tonga cannot wait to rip into the number one side in the world”.

In Gaelic games, Ciarán Murphy takes a look at the dominant club sides around the country, Ballygunner being the ultimate example after they won their 10th Waterford hurling title in a row last weekend, while Gordon Manning talks to Mark Fitzgerald, the new Clare football manager.

And Dave Hannigan brings us the tale of Yassine Cheuko who has become something of a celebrity over in the States thanks to his new job - he’s “a 21st century Kevin Costner to Lionel Messi’s Whitney Houston”. Yes, he’s the Argentinian maestro’s bodyguard.

TV Watch: All 12 of Europe’s Ryder Cup team are in the field for the PGA Championship which gets under way this morning at Wentworth (Sky Sports Golf, 8.30am-6pm), Shane Lowry the defending champion. And this evening, hosts France are back in action at the rugby World Cup, Uruguay their opponents in Lille (Virgin Media Two and ITV4, kick-off 8pm).

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