Republic of Ireland appoint England scourge Heimir Hallgrimsson as new head coach

Will Ford
Heimir Hallgrimsson Jamaica
Heimir Hallgrimsson has managed Iceland and Jamaica.

Heimir Hallgrimsson has been appointed as the new head coach of the Republic of Ireland.

He replaces interim manager John O’Shea, who has been in charge since Stephen Kenny’s departure in November last year following a miserable Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.

Hallgrimsson has previous pedigree on the international stage, having managed Iceland and Jamaica.

He was joint Iceland coach with Lars Lagerback from 2013 – a spell which included their famous Euro 2016 win over England – before becoming sole head coach for a further two years until 2018, when he led them to their first World Cup.

Following a stint with Qatar outfit Al-Arabi, Hallgrimsson then became head coach of Jamaica in 2022, but announced his resignation following the side’s exit from the Copa America at the beginning of the month.

‘Genuine potential’

Speaking about his appointment, Hallgrimsson said: “It is an honour to be appointed head coach of the Ireland Senior Men’s National Team.

“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.”

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England first up

Hallgrimsson will take charge of his first competitive game when Ireland take on England in the Nations League on September 7 and the side then face Greece three days later.

His appointment comes seven months after Kenny’s departure, but FAI director of football Marc Canham insists Hallgrimsson was at the top of their list to take over.

“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,” Canham said.

“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.”

Following his appointment as interim manager in February, O’Shea oversaw one win, one draw and two losses in friendly games this year and Canham paid tribute to the former Manchester United and Ireland defender for his role.

Canham added: “I also want to thank and pay tribute to John O’Shea and his staff who have guided the team through recent friendly internationals preparing the team impeccably, creating a brilliant environment for the players and achieving positive results on the pitch.”