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"A bit like Brexit" - Mick Cooke questions Ireland's "strange scenario"

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

01:00 30 Jan 2019

This week on Team 33, former Drogheda United and Monaghan United manager Mick Cooke returned to the show.

Since he was last on with us, much has changed in the landscape of Irish soccer. The Martin O'Neill era is over and Stephen Kenny will become Ireland manager in 2020, stepping up from the Under-21 job he was initially appointed to after Mick McCarthy steps away as senior boss.

While Cooke is backing the "methodical" Kenny to do well, he does have some misgivings about aspects of the FAI's succession plan which he shared with Joe Coffey, Derek Ryan, Enda Coll and I.

You can listen to the full podcast here.

"A bit like Brexit" - Mick Cooke questions Ireland's "strange scenario"

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

"I'm not surprised in the appointment, just surprised with the whole setup of it," said Cooke.

"I know Stephen probably wouldn't have left just to take the Under-21 job. It just seems a bit like Brexit. We're making decisions and we don't know what's going to happen.

"What happens if Mick has a great Euros? Would Mick have taken this deal five years ago, where he knows after two years , he'll be replaced?

"I know it won't happen because Stephen is so methodical, but what if he has a bad time with the 21s? Where do you go from there? Now, I think he's done very well bringing in Keith Andrews on his management team. Keith is obviously going to games every week. He knows lots of Irish players over there [in England]. But I don't know who [the FAI are] going to get to do all the scouting in England because they seem to have let lots of people go in England.

"Keith Andrews is a very good appointment"

"So I think Keith Andrews is a very, very good appointment because everyone in England would know him from his appearances on Sky Sports."

Cooke also pointed out that there will be upheaval for the Under-21s towards the end of their next qualifying campaign. Kenny becomes Ireland senior manager in the summer of Euro 2020 after the European Championships. But the Under-21s' campaign will not be over, with an away game in Italy on October 13th 2020. And there is also the question of his backroom staff.

"If they're doing well at Under-21, then the manager's leaving with games to go. Will they appoint an Under-21 manager with four games to go to help Stephen?" he said.

"And I can't see him working with Jim Crawford and Keith Andrews and then at the end of the two years saying, 'Thanks lads, that was great' and then he just moves on.

"I'd imagine he'd have to bring someone senior in from England, even with Jim and Keith. But it's a strange scenario."

Cooke had more to say on that topic. And he also explained why he is calling for reserve team football within the Irish league structure. The ex-Ireland women's head coach also previewed the 2019 League of Ireland campaign in both divisions. Plus, we started off by chatting about his eye-opening trip to a Borussia Dortmund match.

You can listen to the full podcast above and follow @teamthirtythree on Twitter.

Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


Read more about

Derek Ryan FAI Football Ireland Ireland Under-21 Jim Crawford Joe Coffey Keith Andrews League Of Ireland Mick Cooke Mick McCarthy Raf Diallo Soccer Stephen Kenny Team 33

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