As was widely predicted , new Irish supremo, Martin O’Neill has confirmed that Seamus McDonagh will replace long serving Alan Kelly as Ireland’s new goalkeeping coach.
The F.A.I has confirmed that newly appointed manager O’Neill has decided to utilise the services of former Irish international Seamus McDonagh in the goalkeeper coach role having worked with McDonagh previously at Leicester City, Aston Villa and Sunderland.
O’Neill spoke to Kelly to inform him of his decision and was at pains to point out that this move was in no way a reflection of Kelly’s capabilities.
“I spoke to Alan in with what was obviously an extremely difficult phone call to have to make,” said O’Neill.
“The simple situation is that I’ve worked with Seamus before at club level. I’m well aware of how highly thought of Alan Kelly is in Irish football circles.
“I told Alan that I will go and meet him after the upcoming international games to talk to him and tap into his experience.”
O’Neill’s backroom team for the forthcoming games against Latvia and Poland will not contain any further additions to the staff that have been involved in the international set-up in recent months.
FAI Chief Executive John Delaney acknowledged the massive contribution Kelly has made to Irish football both as a player and goalkeeper coach.
“I would like to put on record the Association’s thanks to Alan Kelly for the tremendous service he has given Irish football,” said Delaney.
Delaney went on : “I very much hope that he can remain involved in Irish football in some capacity. I thank him wholeheartedly for his contribution as a player and as a coach. His family has a long proud history of involvement with the Ireland team and it is right that is acknowledged and respected.”
Alan Kelly, 44, is currently goalkeeper coach at Preston North End. His playing career began at Deepdale and he made 142 appearances for Preston before joining Sheffield United in 1992. He later spent five years with Blackburn Rovers.
The son of legendary Ireland goalkeeper Alan Kelly senior, Alan won 34 caps for Ireland.
Kelly reflected on his time with the Republic of Ireland saying: “To have represented Ireland over the last twenty-five years a player and a coach has been a privilege and an honour.
“The Insight, knowledge & practical experience I have gained over the last eight years as a member of the Senior management team, working alongside world renowned coaches, has given me an invaluable coaching education at the highest possible level.
“I would like to wish the Martin, Roy and all the squad the very best of luck for the future.”