Stephen Kenny vowing to do things his own way, an Ulster final like no other

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

Andrew White and Andre Botha celebrate the wicket of Inzmam-Ul-Haq during Ireland’s famous win over Pakistan in 2007. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Andrew White and Andre Botha celebrate the wicket of Inzmam-Ul-Haq during Ireland’s famous win over Pakistan in 2007. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

New Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has vowed to do things his “own way,” as he replaces Mick McCarthy and begins what he has called his “ultimate job.” Speaking yesterday for the first time since his appointment last weekend, former Dundalk and Under-21s boss Kenny outlined a positive vision for Ireland going forward, and suggested many of the building blocks for success are already in place, particularly at the back. “I looked at the back four against Denmark: Doherty, Egan, Duffy and Stevens and in my informed view that is in the top 10 of back fours in Europe. That’s what I feel.” The 48-year-old emphasises control will be key for his side going forward, and he wants the first team to set out a blueprint which the rest of the country will want to follow. He said: “I would like schoolboy teams and academy teams throughout the country to look at the senior international team and think: ‘that’s how we want to play’. That they connect with it at that level. That is my dream.”

Elsewhere in today’s whole new ball game column Malachy Clerkin has imagined the 2020 Ulster Championship final being played in the depths of next February, and the tailback of Tyrone fans as they try to make it across the Covid-border to Clones. He writes: “When the restrictions started to be lifted in the South and the counties started talking seriously about getting the games up and running again, Ulster GAA people began to get that old invisible feeling. How could you organise the All-Irelands when six of the counties has been under different conditions all this time?”

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