Stephen Kenny: New Republic of Ireland boss says it's not a time to celebrate appointment
Asked for his message to the Republic faithful, Kenny added: "There are better days ahead and we can look forward in a sporting context to what is a magnificent year of football in the Aviva Stadium over the forthcoming year"
Last Updated: 05/04/20 11:07pm
Newly-appointed Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny says he is "not in celebratory mode" due to the coronavirus pandemic, but is excited by the prospect of an "incredible" introduction to senior international management.
Kenny, the former U21 manager, was due to succeed Mick McCarthy after Euro 2020, but the postponement of the qualification play-offs and the tournament itself to next summer, led to an acceleration of the Football Association of Ireland's (FAI) plan.
The Republic are due to face Slovakia in their play-off semi-final, while Kenny could face up to nine games by the end of the year with the Nations League and Euro play-offs, followed by World Cup qualifiers and potentially the Euro finals in 2021.
Speaking to FAI TV, Kenny said: "It's a good day, but we are not in celebratory mode.
"My thoughts are with the frontline workers, the doctors, nurses, paramedics. The self sacrifice is heroic. We really support them."
Kenny looked ahead to when football may be able to resume and is determined to take make the most of a busy start to his tenure.
"I feel it is an incredible year really, unprecedented," he said.
"You have got the Euro play-offs against Slovakia of course. And we have got the Nations League - six games of the Nations League, and also World Cup qualifiers this year.
"So that has never happened before - where you have got Euro play-offs, Nations League and World Cup qualifiers in the same calendar year. Nine games between September and November.
"An incredible schedule and very, very exciting. A very, very exciting year and we have got a lot to look forward to."
FAI chief executive Garry Owens said both McCarthy and Kenny had agreed that the former Dundalk boss should take over with immediate effect.
Asked for his message to the Republic faithful, he added: "There are better days ahead and we can look forward in a sporting context to what is a magnificent year of football in the Aviva Stadium over the forthcoming year."
Kenny, whose backroom staff will include ex-Republic of Ireland internationals Damien Duff and Keith Andrews, paid tribute to McCarthy, whose second stint in charge of the national side came to an end on Saturday.
"Mick has obviously had a tremendous career as captain of Ireland and as manager of Ireland on two occasions," the 48-year-old said.
"He leaves a legacy behind him, and certainly, it is just unfortunate - with the cancellation of matches, it has been an unfortunate situation.
"But he is revered in Ireland, and the contributions over the last couple of years of Robbie Keane and Terry Connor also, and all of his staff."
"He leaves a legacy behind him, and certainly, it is just unfortunate - with the cancellation of matches, it has been an unfortunate situation"
Stephen Kenny on Mick McCarthy
Of immediate focus is the battle against the coronavirus outbreak, which has largely brought sport to a complete halt across the world, and Kenny urged the Irish public to look after their safety and of others.
"I think we've got to really stay safe (now), got to look after each other," he said.
"There is a lot of tragedy throughout Europe, and in Ireland, people have been very disciplined and hopefully we get the benefits of that.
"A lot of people have lost their lives and our thoughts are with them too."