Problems ahead of FAI’s manager succession plan? Kerry need to become the hunters

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Johnny Sexton and Luke McGrath in Dublin Airport as the Ireland team leave for the Rugby World Cup in Japan. Photo: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Johnny Sexton and Luke McGrath in Dublin Airport as the Ireland team leave for the Rugby World Cup in Japan. Photo: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

This time next year Stephen Kenny will be the Ireland senio team manager and Mick McCarthy will be gone from the role. Given how rosy it’s all going at senior and under-21 level at the moment this seems like a strange thing to say but that’s what the FAI succession plan entails and already there are some issues on the horizon. What happens if the under-21s qualify for Euro 2021 – the first time an Ireland side will have qualified for a tournament at that level? Does Kenny leave the senior team and go back? Do the under-21s head into a major tournament with a brand new manager? Unknowns, unknows and more unknowns but this morning Emmet Malone attempts to untangle it all in what is a situation which could cause big problems in the not too distant future. The under-21s are undoubtedly the hot topic in Irish football at the moment and none more so than Troy Parrott who many have as first in line for a call-up to the senior team despite being 17-years-old and never having played a football match at that level for club and country. However, the Summerhill youngster said in the wake of his match-winning brace against Sweden that he is perfectly happy to bide his time and represent Ireland at any level.

On to GAA and it’s not too long now before Dublin and Kerry go at it again in the All-Ireland final. In the drawn game two weeks ago the Kingdom looked the more comfortable side for much of the 70+ minutes but, as Eamon Donoghue outlines in his stats column, they retreated in the closing stages and allowed Dublin to dictate. “In the final 12 minutes a Kerry outfield player kicked the ball only three times. They held the ball inside their own half and allowed Dublin to pressurise them. They lost the ball five times in all, and on four occasions it was due to bad option-taking rather than Dublin’s tackling,” he writes. With the countdown clock ticking towards the replay perhaps the biggest news of the week was that RTÉ have dropped Joe Brolly from their studio panel after the Derryman came in for criticism following his analysis of the drawn match. Mary Hannigan writes that, although Brolly was like marmite, there’s little doubt that he at least livened the place up a bit. On Sunday the women’s final – which is in danger of being eaten whole by the men’s replay – will take place at Croke Park and Galway captain Tracey Leonard says that being a “nearly team” has driven her side on as they look to step up to the standard which has been set by Dublin. Also in our women in sport pages this morning, former Dublin player Clíodhna O’Connor writes that there is no going back for women’s football now.

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