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Mary Hannigan: When it rains at the FAI, it buckets down. Process begins to find new Ireland manager

Vote to remove five counties from National Hurling League may not go ahead next month; Katie Taylor seeks redemption against Chantelle Cameron at career crossroads

There was, of course, a certain inevitability about the FAI’s decision to part company with Stephen Kenny, it’s just that it was made a whole lot more quickly than anticipated. The initial plan was to discuss his position at next week’s board meeting, but shortly before 7pm yesterday it was announced that his contract would not be renewed. An end of an era, then.

The process to find his replacement has, writes Gavin Cummiskey, already begun, with former Republic of Ireland internationals Lee Carsley, now the England under-21 coach, and Chris Hughton, the current Ghana manager, among the names being linked to the job.

As if the FAI hadn’t enough on their plate – they’re also still looking for a replacement for Vera Pauw – Siptu are up in arms over their payments to chief executive Jonathan Hill, the union seeking an “urgent meeting” with Minister of State for Sport Thomas Byrne to discuss the matter. When it rains, it buckets down.

Just about the only good fortune the FAI enjoyed this year was the success of their joint bid with the UK to host Euro 2028, although considering they were the only candidates in the end, it was an easy enough win. A redeveloped Casement Park was included in that bid’s list of venues, but there’s been no little opposition up north to public money being spent on the GAA ground. The solution, says Ciarán Murphy, is to ensure that it is used for an array of events. “If that means welcoming Coldplay as well as Cushendall to Casement, then so be it.”


Meanwhile, a vote to remove five counties – Louth, Fermanagh, Longford, Cavan and Leitrim – from the National Hurling League might not go ahead next month after all due to the opposition to the proposal. Gordon Manning brings news on that development, and also talks to Paul Shankey about his new role as Waterford’s football manager.

In rugby, Nathan Johns looks at the debate surrounding the role of the scrum in the game, and he has a word with Munster’s Craig Casey and Leinster’s Garry Ringrose ahead of the provinces’ URC meeting on Saturday. And Gerry Thornley hears from Jeremy Loughman who is looking forward to reuniting with his former Blackrock College team-mate Oli Jager who has just been signed by Munster.

After losing her first professional fight back in May, Katie Taylor will be seeking redemption in Dublin on Saturday in her rematch against Chantelle Cameron. Johnny Watterson talks to promoter Eddie Hearn about the fight which he promises, in his usual understated style, will be “an absolute war”.

And Ian O’Riordan writes about the dilemma facing those tasked with naming the Irish athlete of the year: how do you separate Ciara Mageean and Rhasidat Adeleke after the year they both enjoyed? The solution was simple: they were chosen as joint winners.

TV Watch: Chelsea’s women are back in Champions League action tonight when Paris FC are their visitors at Stamford Bridge (TNT Sports 1, 8pm), manager Emma Hayes hoping for better officiating than she saw in their controversial 2-2 draw against Real Madrid a week ago. “Embarrassing,” as she put it.