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Brian Kerr insists Ireland need strong Nations League showing to keep public on side

Brian Kerr

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Former Ireland manager Brian Kerr believes that the public's patience with Stephen Kenny's senior side will start to run out unless they pick up some wins in the Nations League.

Ireland have yet to win in 10 matches in the Nations League, six of those played under Kenny's stewardship, and while ticket sales are expected to be high for next week's games at home to Ukraine and Scotland, Kerr claims that winning is now all that matters

"I heard Stephen talking at UCD fund-raising lunch for their scholarships. He said that himself. He said we’ve got to start winning games more regularly. He understands that. And we do. We need to be in the running," says Kerr, senior team manager from 2003-2005.

"There’s been a bit of a surge for the FAI in terms of attendances after Covid when no one was allowed.

"People can go again to the matches and they’ve had good crowds at the last few home games.

Stephen Kenny will not simply unleash his young speed merchants against Armenia (Niall Carson/PA)

"They need that to be sustained because of the financial problems that they’ve had, they don’t have money. They’re depending on Government money. Their income streams have fallen apart in many ways.

"Now they can get people into matches again and they say their sales of season tickets are massive.

"To sustain that you need the team to be competitive and be in the running.

"People won’t keep going and paying quite dearly into matches if the team is not competitive, and not in the running.

"We should be in contention. Armenia, Scotland and Ukraine. That’s a nice-ish group, well in contention to get through that group," he added.

Kerr, whose side fell short in campaigns for Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup, admits it's now a lot easier to achieve qualification, especially with reports that UEFA will admit 32 teams from the 55 member nations to Euro 2028.

"It’s getting easier, there are so many routes into qualification, apart from the World Cup one which is very difficult for European teams. For the European Championships, it’s getting easier. You keep increasing the numbers and it’s almost starting to get to the stage where there’s one for everyone in the audience, type-of-stuff," Kerr said.

"The more teams we can get in, or in with a chance of getting to the finals, the more money we can generate - that’s what it’s about for UEFA. It’s getting easier."

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