THE Republic of Ireland are set to be dealt another blow in the build up to the 2022 World Cup Qualifying campaign with reports suggesting that Alan Kelly’s departure as goalkeeping coach will be officially announced in the next 24 hours.
On Tuesday night, both the Irish Times and the Irish Independent have released the news.
It has been a turbulent time for Stephen Kenny with Damien Duff leaving his post as part of the backroom team just four days ago under much speculation. Kelly has been a long-term servant to the association and has been the goalkeeping coach under a succession of managers including Steve Staunton, Giovanni Trapattoni, Martin O’Neill and Mick McCarthy.
The former Blackburn Rovers player was forced to angrily deny reports in November that he had leaked details to the press regarding a motivational video shown by Kenny before the international friendly with England at Wembley. Fuel was added to the fire when Kelly missed the following Nations League tie with Bulgaria at the Aviva Stadium.
However, both Kenny and Kelly strenuously denied that the former netminder had expressed grievances in relation to the video to the press and he confirmed that he missed the tie due to concerns about Covid-19 as Kelly is an asthmatic and some members of the squad had tested positive in the lead up to the game.
The FAI will be expected to release a formal statement tomorrow to announce the departure and attention will quickly turn to a possible replacement. The likes of Shay Given and Dean Kiely will be the most obvious candidates due to their respective roles with Premier League clubs and their previous experience with the country. John O’Shea has also been linked with replacing Damien Duff. O’Shea is currently a coach with the U-21 side.
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