October 2023

Stephen Kenny undaunted as a bold new era beckons.

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His ambition is, of course, to engineer victories, something there is pressure on him to do from day one due to the fixture list he has been handed. Getting to the European Championships is a particular goal, however.

“I think that we have to achieve something extraordinary,” he says of the play-offs. “We have got to get extraordinary results; win away in Slovakia and then win away in Bosnia or Northern Ireland, win two matches back-to-back against significant nations which we have not done in many, many years. We have not looked like doing it but we must do everything that we can to do it now.”

Regardless of the specific personnel, the general scale of Kenny’s aspirations might be regarded as a dangerously high bar for a manager to set himself and as the first game approaches he might be forgiven for feeling slightly daunted by the hype he must now try to live up to but, he insists, he is relishing the opportunity.

“I actually don’t find it in the least bit daunting,” he says. “I’m ready, more than ready. It can’t come quickly enough, that’s the way I look at it.

“I am looking forward to working with the group of players and making a vibrant and exciting team, a cohesive team, with an attacking threat. We’ve got players who love playing for Ireland and we want them to have great experiences, like all the great players of the past have had great experiences playing for their country.