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06-Apr-2020, 06:14 pm

'I’m bitterly disappointed' - McCarthy breaks silence after stepping down from Ireland post

Mick McCarthy Ireland Fans Split

Mick McCarthy says he is "bitterly disappointed" to have cut short his time as Republic of Ireland manager, but insists he is "pragmatic" about the situation amid the coronavirus pandemic currently sweeping the globe.

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) announced McCarthy's departure on Saturday, with ex-Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny drafted in as his replacement ahead of a European Championship play-off against Slovakia.

McCarthy's existing contract was not due to expire until after Euro 2020, but in light of UEFA's decision to push the tournament back a year, the FAI have been forced into making a premature change in the dugout.

A win against Slovakia will see Ireland qualify for the international competition, but that fixture has also been postponed indefinitely, and it is not yet known for certain when it will be safe for football to resume as the fight against Covid-19 rumbles on.

McCarthy has broken his silence after stepping down for Kenny - who was originally due to inherit the managerial reigns on August 1 - admitting that he would have loved to take Ireland to the European Championships.

"I'm only doing what my contract says, I'm stepping down," the 61-year-old told Talksport. "There are things that are affecting other people far more than me.

"Yes, I'm bitterly disappointed I don't get the chance to take us to the Euros in Dublin in 2021.

"But I'm also so pragmatic about it - I knew about it and that's it.

"I've got no games now, so the sensible thing is to let Stephen take over so he can start his planning for Slovakia."

The former Wolves and Ipswich manager has enjoyed a long career in management spanning 28 years, and was heading towards the end of his second stint in charge of Ireland, having previously guided his country to the 2002 World Cup finals in South Korea/Japan.

When asked if he plans to return to the touchline after the coronavirus crisis subsides, McCarthy made it clear that he is not yet considering retirement, despite his advancing years.

"Absolutely, I want to get back into it," he added. "I'm not packing it in. I'm 61, not 71!"

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