Coronavirus: Stephen Kenny's message of hope for League of Ireland fans

Ireland U21 boss, Stephen Kenny.Ireland U21 boss, Stephen Kenny.
Ireland U21 boss, Stephen Kenny. | other
STEPHEN KENNY believes Declan Devine and his ‘passionate’ backroom team should be ‘supported and encouraged’ in their bid to bring success back to Derry City Football Club.

The Dubliner, who will succeed Mick McCarthy as boss of the senior international team after the postponed European Championships next year, issued a message of optimism for League of Ireland fans in an interview on the SSE Airtricity League’s Facebook account.

With the League of Ireland suspended until June 19th due to the coronavirus crisis, Kenny reflected back on the how the 2020 campaign had begun and he believes his former club are on the right track having installed ex-Celtic midfielder, Paddy McCourt as Technical Director to assist Devine.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Declan Devine, of course, in his previous stint as manager won the FAI Cup and people should remember that,” said Kenny who managed the Candy Stripes from 2004-2006 and 2008-2011.

“Paddy McCourt is technical director there, a bit like Stephen McPhail (at Shamrock Rovers) - two technical directors, great players with a great feeling for the game. Not looking to be in the limelight but supporting the managers in a great way. It’s a new role, technical director in Ireland, but they’re two examples of how it’s working well.

“Kevin Deery is assistant manager there and again, he’s very passionate. I think all of thatstaff at Derry - they love the city, they love the club, it’s their club, and they should be supported and encouraged.”

Derry have won just one of their opening four games in the league and Ireland U21 boss, Kenny believes it will require a settling in period for Devine’s new recruits.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“They haven’t made the start they wanted. Last year they wanted to re-establish the identity of Derry. I get what they were trying to do. I think this season they’ve lost (David) Parkhouse, they’ve lost Junior (Ogedi-Uzokwe), Greg Sloggett to Dundalk, Barry McNamee. When you start something and then lose your better players, it’s difficult to replace players like that. And I think their new players will need time to settle.”

Kenny of course enjoyed significant success with Derry in Europe, particulalry in 2006 with those memorable UEFA Cup games against Gothenborg, Gretna and PSG and he’s delighted to see the Lone Moor Road club back where they belong.

“Derry have been used to being in Europe and it’s great to have them back in Europe. There are some great European memories there.”

As for the current COVID-19 crisis, Kenny’s message was one of optimism for Irish football.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s very difficult times for everyone. Sport, rightly so, takes a backseat. But from a football perspective, if we can remember the opening part of the season and remind ourselves of how well it started and look forward to June 19th when it resumes, if it resumes on June 19th. There’s a lot to look forward to for supporters and I just want to remind them of that.”