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10th Jul 2024

FAI appoint Heimir Hallgrímsson as the new Ireland manager

Robert Redmond

The Icelandic coach was appointed after an eight-month search for a new head coach.

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) have appointed Heimir Hallgrímsson as the new Republic of Ireland men’s senior team manager.

Hallgrímsson has replaced Stephen Kenny after a lengthy search by the FAI, who appeared to find it difficult to land a new coach.

Lee Carsley, Chris Coleman, Neil Lennon, Chris Hughton and Gus Puyout were all linked with the role. While former Ireland captain John O’Shea took charge of the team for two interim spells over the past few months.

Hallgrímsson, however, has emerged as a shock appointment. His first game in charge will be against England in the Uefa Nations League in September.

Who is Heimir Hallgrímsson?

The Icelandic coach, 57, was Iceland’s joint manager alongside Lars Lagerbäck when the nation famously beat England at Euro 2016.

He was then the sole manager when Iceland reached the 2018 World Cup. Hallgrímsson resigned after the country failed to progress from the group stage in their first appearance at the World Cup.

Hallgrímsson, who is a trained dentist, then had a spell as Al-Arabi’s coach in Qatar.

In his most recent role, the 57-year-old was Jamaica manager. He resigned last week, however, after the Caribbean nation finished bottom of their group at the Copa America without earning a point.

In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, Hallgrímsson said it was an ‘honour’ to be appointed as Ireland head coach.

10 July 2024; Heimir Hallgrímsson, left, with FAI director of football Marc Canham as he is announced as the new Republic of Ireland Manager in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

What has the FAI and Hallgrímsson said about the appointment?

“It is an honour to be appointed Head Coach of the Ireland Senior Men’s National Team,” Hallgrímsson said.

“Ireland is rightly a proud footballing nation which has consistently produced talented players and enjoyed many memorable moments at major international tournaments.

“We have a young and exciting team that has genuine potential. I am looking forward to working closely with the players to help coach and guide them towards improved performances and results ensuring we qualify and compete at major tournaments on a regular basis. We have important and exciting games coming up in the UEFA Nations League later this year and a massive FIFA World Cup qualification campaign coming up next year.

“Finally, I am also looking forward to getting to know the people of Ireland and in particular the wonderful fans of Irish football. It is my responsibility to coach, prepare and develop our team as best as possible to deliver results on the pitch and to make our supporters happy and proud.”

March Canham, the FAI’s Director of Football, said:

“We are thrilled to announce Heimir as our new Head Coach. Earlier this year, we identified Heimir as our number one candidate whose capabilities and experience aligned with our criteria.

“Not only does Heimir have significant experience at international level with two different countries, but crucially he also has a track record of qualifying for major international tournaments and taking teams up the FIFA World rankings.

“It was also important for us that we recruited a Head Coach who is interested in the overall development of football in Ireland as outlined in the FAI’s football pathways plan and in particular someone who is interested in the development of our underage international teams both of which Heimir is hugely passionate about.”

Hallgrímsson will speak to the Irish media on Thursday morning in a press conference at the Aviva Stadium.

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