Belfast Telegraph

Derry City’s manager search kicks off

Candystripes launch hunt for Kenny replacement

By Colin Speer

As Stephen Kenny was unveiled as Shamrock Rovers boss yesterday, the big question now on Foyleside is, who will succeed him at Derry City?

Although the Dubliner was unable to clinch the title, he did win numerous League Cups and the FAI Cup during his two spells at the Brandywell and he is also a massive fans’ favourite so whoever takes the Derry hot seat will have a hard act to follow.

In both his periods in charge at City, Kenny’s attacking and attractive football meant his side were always exciting to watch.

The Derry board met on Tuesday, with finding Kenny’s replacement their main priority and they also met with the players to assure them that a new boss would be in place, sooner rather than later.

A host of candidates are sure to be in line to take over, but the Brandywell hierarchy will not be rushed into making a decision unless they get the right man.

Kenny’s number two at the Brandywell Declan Devine, is thought to be interested in making that first step up into management, however it is also believed that Kenny wants to bring him to Tallaght.

Former skipper Peter Hutton, now managing Finn Harps, would be the favourite among supporters to make a return, while the last man to secure the Premier Division title Felix Healy, who is also working alongside Hutton at Harps, would be another who would please the Brandywell faithful.

Ex-Cork City, Shelbourne and Shamrock Rovers boss Damien Richardson, with his vast experience is likely to also be in the frame. Former Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr if interested would be another strong contender.

Kerr’s assistant at the Faroe Islands John McDonnell, with his knowledge of the League of Ireland, could be in with a shout.

Other managers expected to throw their hat into the ring are former Republic of Ireland defender Kenny Cunningham, ex-Dundalk gaffer Ian Foster while Belfast man Sean Connor, who has managed the likes of Sligo Rovers and Bohemians has always coveted the Derry job.

In his first spell Kenny, before leaving to manage Scottish Premier Division side Dunfermline Athletic in 2006, lost out on the Premier Division title twice on the last day of the season to Cork City and Shelbourne, but did manage to secure the FAI Cup after beating St Patrick’s Athletic in a memorable final at the old Lansdowne Road.

He also guided the Candystripes past IFK Gothenburg and Gretna to reach the final qualifying match before the money spinning group stages of the UEFA Cup, however they lost 2-0 on aggregate to French giants Paris Saint Germain.

Then when he returned for his second spell in 2007 the ex-Bohemians gaffer took time to settle in but after all the off-field problems which saw the club relegated, he managed to put together a young all-local side, which lit up the First Division on their way to securing the title.

And last season that same crop of starlets lifted the EA Sports Cup again, but missed out on the championship, with youngsters James McClean, Shane and Patrick McEleney and Daniel Lafferty all shining.

In fact McClean has since moved to English Premiership side Sunderland, while Lafferty has also attracted attention from a host of cross channel clubs.

Belfast Telegraph

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