League of Ireland comes into close contact with interim Ireland manager

Live television returns with RTÉ cameras in Derry and Virgin Media in Tallaght on Monday

Derry City fans unable to reach the Brandywell tonight or Tallaght stadium on Monday can put their feet up.

St Patrick’s Athletic’s journey north in search of atonement for last week’s defeat to Bohemians is on RTÉ2 while Virgin Media provides coverage of the Candystripes’ first cut off Shamrock Rovers.

“You have to embrace this type of challenge,” said Derry manager Ruaidhrí Higgins “It’s part of being a successful team, trying to navigate a way through those fixtures and double-headers.”

Two rounds of matches bookending the weekend should be enough live football to satisfy League of Ireland aficionados. Unfortunately, the latest instalment of the FAI’s search for a men’s manager comes into close contact with Friday night lights as Marc Canham and interim Ireland head coach John O’Shea gather the media at the Aviva Stadium.


O’Shea’s introductory press conference is at 4pm, so the stopgap coach will struggle to catch Waterford, his hometown club, at Eamonn Deacy Park in Galway. Kick-off is at 7.30pm, so the second-half is doable. Failing that, the former Manchester United player can show his face at a sold-out Dalymount Park, where Bohs face Dundalk and their fit-again Dutch midfielder Koen Oostenbrink. Or he might mosey out to Tallaght, where the champions welcome back Pico Lopes for the visit of Drogheda United.

Wherever O’Shea roams, from now until Canham announces the permanent gaffer in “early Apri,”, he’ll be the talk of the town.

At least the league’s most fascinating coaches, Damien Duff and Stephen Bradley, are in the conversation to become a future Ireland coach. Not the upcoming appointment. The one after that.

Only one of the Shelbourne and Shamrock Rovers managers were indirectly approached by the FAI about the current vacancy. Duff described it as a “box-ticking” exercise before Shels beat Rovers 2-1 at Tolka Park last Friday. Bradley said he was “never spoken to about the job”.

In most football countries Bradley’s four straight titles as Rovers boss or Duff guiding Shels into Europe would have the pair at loggerheads for Stephen Kenny’s old job.

“There’s a really exciting group of young managers in the league, some of whom could be potential future Ireland managers,” Kenny told the Irish Independent. “I think they have to go and qualify for European group stages competition and then achieve at that level or get moves to other European leagues.”

Kenny ticked the Europa League box at Dundalk. As did Bradley two years ago. However, with Derry nipping at their heels, Rovers struggled to compete on two fronts.

Like Duff and O’Shea, Higgins was briefly part of Kenny’s Ireland backroom, and he warmed to the managerial chatter this week. “I know John’s a calming influence and a brilliant human being. They’re in good hands.”

Premier Division fixtures (Friday, 7.45pm unless stated)

Sligo Rovers v Shelbourne, The Showgrounds

Bohemians v Dundalk, Dalymount Park

Derry City v St Patrick’s Athletic, The Brandywell – Live on RTÉ2

Galway United v Waterford, Eamonn Deacy Park

Shamrock Rovers v Drogheda United, 8pm

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Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent