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"I feel sorry for Mick McCarthy because he gave it everything" | Kerr

In the immediate aftermath of Off The Ball's exclusive report that Mick McCarthy was set to dep...


"I feel sorry for Mick McCarthy because he gave it everything" | Kerr

In the immediate aftermath of Off The Ball's exclusive report that Mick McCarthy was set to depart his role as Republic of Ireland boss, Brian Kerr shared his thoughts on the decision. 

Seventeen years after he departed a role in the underage Irish system for the senior job, Brian Kerr spoke to Off The Ball shortly after Stephen Kenny made the same transition.

The manager primed to take over the role from Mick McCarthy, it was revealed exclusively by Off The Ball that this change, having been hampered somewhat by the postponement of fixtures caused by the current coronavirus pandemic, would take place with immediate effect.

"It was an unprecedented, extraordinary and awkward situation that they'd found themselves in," remarked Kerr of the FAI's need to act on who would take Ireland forward as they awaited on the occurrence of a European Championships qualifier, "[but] I'm surprised that they've taken this action.

"I'm sure that it wasn't taken rashly and I'm sure there was a lot of consideration of what they were going to do next.

"I'd also be sure that discussions would have taken place between Stephen's representatives and Mick's representatives and that it wasn't a case of them going to Mick and just saying that Stephen was taking over.

"I am surprised though because Mick got the job with the understanding that he would be there until after the European Championships were played, whether we were in them or not.

"He was still in with a chance of making them, albeit not on the back of his own work but from the Nations League, but I'm sure a lot of the work had gone, well, I know the work had gone on in scouting future opponents."

Mick McCarthy 18 November 2019; Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy during the UEFA EURO2020 Qualifier match between Republic of Ireland and Denmark at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Although the Football Association of Ireland were likely to come under huge scrutiny for whatever decision they've made, Brian Kerr believes they have acted with admirable decisiveness.

"Looking at it from the FAI's point of view," he reasoned, "they would have been thinking that there's going to be a substantial gap in time which will allow for Stephen to get his head around everything.

"I feel a bit sorry for Mick because he gave everything and there will be no criticism of him. He was put into an awkward position and he did the best he could.

"The performances weren't brilliant. There was a lot of graft and effort, but not great results. So, the FAI have made a very decisive decision rather than letting it linger on.

"The truth of it is, when are we going to see a game again anyway at any level?"

Mick McCarthy 7 October 2019; Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy with players, from left, Seamus Coleman, Derrick Williams and Matt Doherty during a Republic of Ireland training session at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Dwelling on how the current Republic of Ireland players who had been playing under Mick McCarthy may react to this news, Brian Kerr ultimately believes that their prerogative is clear.

"The players might be initially disappointed because players ultimately like a manager who picks them," he admitted, "but there'll be a little bit of concern for some of them about where they might stand in relation to their position.

"If they're picked for the first squad [under Kenny], they know what the prize is. When the matches take place, they'll know the prize and want to do their stuff irrespective of who the manager is.

You can watch back Brian Kerr's immediate reaction to the news of Mick McCarthy's departure in full here

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Brian Kerr Football Association Of Ireland Mick McCarthy Republic Of Ireland