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big decision Stephen Kenny’s Irish future set for pre-Christmas decision as former assistant Vinny Perth departs Dundalk

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Vinny Perth and Stephen Kenny celebrate Dundalk's title success in 2014. Picture: Sportsfile

Vinny Perth and Stephen Kenny celebrate Dundalk's title success in 2014. Picture: Sportsfile

Vinny Perth and Stephen Kenny celebrate Dundalk's title success in 2014. Picture: Sportsfile

Stephen Kenny’s Irish future is still on course to be resolved before Christmas with the terms and conditions of a contract extension taking in the European Championships campaign set to be thrashed out prior to the UEFA Nations League draw on December 16.

The FAI convened for a marathon board meeting on Monday which was primarily taken up with discussion around Kenny’s position following on from a review of the World Cup campaign delivered by CEO Jonathan Hill.

Abbotstown officials have kept tight lipped about the outcome of the session with public comment restricted to a brief statement which did say the wrap delivered by Hill was ‘positive and detailed.’

FAI officials are keen for the process from here to remain confidential, but there is understood to be confidence that matters will proceed swiftly.

While some members of the board have expressed caution around offering Kenny a long term deal, there is a strong view that a short term extension taking in the entire 2022 Nations League campaign - the Dubliner’s contract expires in the summer with 4 out of 6 games played - would not send out a message of certainty.

Therefore, contract talks are expected to centre around an extended deal as a show of confidence.

It is likely, though, that discussions would factor in an agreed severance package in the event of things suddenly deteriorating - this would be standard procedure in most football contracts but the FAI have left themselves exposed to substantial payouts in the past.

Another important aspect of talks in the coming weeks will be securing the futures of Kenny’s support staff. Keith Andrews came with Kenny from the U-21 set-up but coach Anthony Barry and goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely are job sharing with roles at Chelsea and Crystal Palace respectively and arrived during the campaign as replacements for Damien Duff and Alan Kelly.

There is a desire to tie down all of the main figures in Kenny’s backroom on similar arrangements timewise.

Meanwhile, Kenny’s former club Dundalk have confirmed the departure of manager Vinny Perth as they look to seal an Oriel Park return for former skipper Stephen O’Donnell.

The Louth club tonight announced that they have parted ways with Perth who was sacked by their American owners last summer but made a stunning return as head coach in June of this year.

A statement from Dundalk thanked Stephen Kenny’s former assistant for his ‘immense contribution’ to a golden era, adding that ‘his name will always be linked to a glorious period in the club’s history.’

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Perth originally took over the top job in late 2018 after the departure of Kenny for the FAI and he was on course for a domestic treble in his first season until suffering a penalty shootout defeat to Shamrock Rovers in the FAI Cup.

However, 2020 was a turbulent year for the club both on and off the park and Perth was shown the door by Bill Hulsizer but remained on good terms with the chairman and was called back in earlier this year.

But the local consortium who assumed control of the club earlier this month always had designs of bringing in their own man.

Saints head coach O’Donnell is their top target and is believed to be keen on a return to his former stomping ground.

Drogheda United manager Tim Clancy has also been considered, but the next move revolves around the intentions of O’Donnell who enjoyed FAI Cup success with St Patrick’s Athletic on Sunday but is not tied down to a long term deal.

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