Stephen Kenny praises commitment of Séamus Coleman despite injury

Out-of-action captain is ‘leading’ team-mates in Spain ahead of Andorra friendly

Séamus Coleman tackles Adama Traore in the incident which saw him pick up a hamstring strain. Photo: Jan Kruger/PA Wire

Séamus Coleman has been ruled out of Thursday's friendly in Andorra but the Republic of Ireland captain remains an ever-present in the squad.

"When you've got people like Séamus . . . ," began Irish manager Stephen Kenny from the team base in Girona, Spain. "I watched the game against Wolves last week when Adama Traoré just accelerated and Séamus had to change direction and had to come off, in the 82nd minute, he tweaked his hamstring.

“That probably would’ve ruled out other players for this camp.”

Not Coleman. The Everton right-back insisted on linking up with Kenny’s squad over the weekend.


“Séamus won’t be fit for Andorra but he’s trying to get himself fit for the Hungary game [on June 8th] and he’s come over as a captain to lead and I think that speaks volumes about him.”

The injury should give Matt Doherty a much-needed run at right fullback or wing-back after the 29-year-old Swords native struggled this season at Tottenham Hotspur.

Kenny and the players will also welcome Chelsea’s Champions League winning coach Anthony Barry into camp before training this evening, as the Liverpudlian switches from the career high of Porto’s Estádio do Dragao and Saturday’s 1-0 win over Manchester City, to the somewhat more sedate Irish gathering in northern Catalonia.

Monumental task

With the monumental task of getting a result against Portugal in Faro on September 1st to keep qualification hopes alive for Qatar 2022, this is a crucial week for Kenny’s staff to deliver the manager’s philosophy following an extremely challenging and winless 13 months at the helm.

On Kenny’s backroom comings and goings – Barry replaced Damien Duff’s largely unexplained decision to resign as an assistant last January, while Dean Kiely replaced Alan Kelly as goalkeeper coach in the wake of the “videogate” furore before playing England last year – a permanent “opposition analyst” is needed ever since Ruaidhrí Higgins became Derry City manager in April. In the meantime, former Shamrock Rovers midfielder Stephen Rice is working with the players.

“Stephen’s been doing some match reports for me in London, sending reports of players and things like that, so he just came out for this camp obviously with Anthony [Barry] not being here for a few days.

“Stephen’s very much a Crystal Palace coach, he’s just here for this camp. I’ll make a decision on that in due course.”

The FAI’s contractual situation with Robbie Keane, who signed a four-year deal in 2018 to be an assistant coach, only for Kenny to opt for Duff on his appointment in 2020, should be figured out in the “not too distant future”, according to the association’s chairman Roy Barrett.

“There is ongoing dialogue with Robbie and [FAI CEO] Jonathan [Hill] and we will see what comes of that,” said Barrett.


This is background noise to Kenny, who expressed delight that senior players like Coleman, James McClean and Shane Duffy showed up in Girona after difficult club seasons, especially considering late withdrawals by injured trio Darren Randolph, Callum Robinson and Aaron Connolly.

“I think it’s important. The three players with the most caps, Séamus, James and Shane, are here and it shows what it means to them to play for Ireland. They are never not here. They always have a huge desire to be here.

“With so many young players coming in, they need to have that understanding of what it means to those players – that sense of Irishness that is critical for their development and for the players to understand that.”

Republic of Ireland (updated squad):

Goalkeepers: Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Gavin Bazunu (Rochdale, on loan from Manchester City), Mark Travers (AFC Bournemouth).

Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Tottenham Hotspur), Lee O'Connor (Tranmere Rovers, on loan from Celtic), James McClean (Stoke City), Ryan Manning (Swansea City), Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion), Dara O'Shea (West Bromwich Albion), John Egan (Sheffield United), Andrew Omobamidele (Norwich City).

Midfielders: Josh Cullen (Anderlecht), Conor Hourihane (Swansea City, on loan from Aston Villa), Harry Arter (Nottingham Forest), Jason Knight (Derby County), Jayson Molumby (Preston North End, on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion), Jamie McGrath (St. Mirren), Daniel Mandroiu (Shamrock Rovers).

Forwards: James Collins (Cardiff City), Adam Idah (Norwich City), Troy Parrott (Tottenham Hotspur), Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham United), Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth), Daryl Horgan (Wycombe Wanderers), Sam Szmodics (Peterborough United).

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent