Stephen Kenny thanks Alan Kelly as Republic of Ireland goalkeeping coach departs

Damian Spellman, PA
·2-min read

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has accepted Alan Kelly’s decision to step down from his role as goalkeeping coach.

The 52-year-old former Ireland keeper, who retained his role when Kenny replaced Mick McCarthy at the helm last year, has cited the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as his reason for leaving.

His departure comes just days after coach Damien Duff announced he too was leaving the staff ahead of the World Cup qualifying campaign.

Kenny said: “Alan called to inform me of his decision and I have accepted it. I want to thank him for his time as goalkeeper coach with me and for his overall contribution to Irish football.”

Asthma sufferer Kelly, who won 34 senior caps for Ireland, opted not to travel to Ireland with the squad after November’s friendly against England at Wembley amid concerns over positive coronavirus cases within the camp.

Announcing his decision to stand down, he said: “With Covid-19 still viciously circulating in our communities, it is with a heavy heart that I have decided the time is right to step down from my role with the Republic of Ireland senior international team and pass on a fantastic group of goalkeepers to a new goalkeeping coach for the upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign.

“It has been an absolute honour and a privilege to represent the Republic of Ireland as a player and coach for the last 28 years. A special thank you goes out to all the Irish international goalkeepers I have played alongside and had the good fortune to coach.

“I would like to thank the FAI and wish Stephen, the staff and all the players the very best of luck in the World Cup qualifiers beginning in March and for the future.”

Kelly’s departure comes in the wake of speculation, vehemently denied by the Preston-born coach, that he had taken exception to a video shown to the Ireland players head of the game at Wembley and reported the incident to the Football Association of Ireland.