Soccer-Kenny replaces McCarthy as Ireland manager

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DUBLIN, April 4 (Reuters) - Mick McCarthy's second stint as Ireland manager ended on Saturday as the country's football association (FAI) announced he was being immediately replaced by Stephen Kenny.

Former Ireland defender McCarthy, 61, took over in November 2018 and was poised to lead them into last month's Euro 2020 qualifying playoffs before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Ex-Dundalk manager Kenny was due to replace McCarthy after the Euros but with the playoffs delayed and the tournament put back a year the FAI have brought the transition forward.

"The Football Association of Ireland announces that Mick McCarthy is to be succeeded as national team manager by Stephen Kenny with immediate effect," a statement read.

"The handover has been agreed with both men in light of the delay to the European Championship play-offs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic."

McCarthy's contract was due to expire on July 31, after the Euro 2020 finals that have now been re-scheduled for 2021.

"This move allows Stephen Kenny time to plan for the European Championship play-off semi-final against Slovakia later in the year," the statement said.

Kenny, 48, has been promoted from under-21s coach.

McCarthy's last match in charge was a 1-1 draw with Denmark in Dublin in November, meaning they missed automatic qualification for the Euros. (Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Ken Ferris)