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KELLY GONE Another high profile staff member walks away from Stephen Kenny's Ireland set-up

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Alan Kelly has quit as Ireland's goalkeeping coach. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Alan Kelly has quit as Ireland's goalkeeping coach. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Alan Kelly has quit as Ireland's goalkeeping coach. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has lost a second high-profile member of his backroom staff as goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly joined Damien Duff in walking away from his role.

Kelly's future in the Ireland set-up was under a cloud after he pulled out of travelling to Dublin for the UEFA Nations League game with Bulgaria in November, claiming his concern over Covid-19 was the primary reason.

Now there will be questions over whether Kelly's unhappiness in the Ireland set-up was a little more deep rooted, yet he released a statement insisting his decision had nothing to do with a clash with manager Kenny.

"With COVID-19 still viciously circulating in our communities, it is with a heavy heart that I have decided the time is right to step down from my role with the Republic of Ireland senior international team and pass on a fantastic group of goalkeepers to a new goalkeeping coach for the upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign," said Kelly in a statement.

"It has been an absolute honour and a privilege to represent the Republic of Ireland as a player and coach for the last 28 years. A special thank you goes out to all the Irish International goalkeepers I have played alongside and had the good fortune to coach.

"I would like to thank the FAI and wish Stephen, the staff and all the players the very best of luck in the World Cup qualifiers beginning in March and for the future."

Kenny offered up a short comment on Kelly's departure as he said in an FAI statement: "Alan called to inform me of his decision and I have accepted it,” Stephen said. “I want to thank him for his time as goalkeeper coach with me and for his overall contribution to Irish football."

Kenny's troubled reign as Ireland manager now faces a crucial few months as a woeful run of form on the field has combined with troubles of it.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has been a major handicap to Kenny so far, his position as Ireland manager is bound to come under scrutiny after his side failed to win any of his first eight games in charge, scoring just one goal in that miserable run.

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