Stephen Kenny took his first steps in charge of the senior national team last Thursday night as the Republic of Ireland escaped from Sofia with a 1-1 draw.
A late, late Shane Duffy header grabbed Ireland a point to begin the new era under the former Dundalk manager but the game with Bulgaria was a drab affair overall.
After years of unimaginative, safety-first football Kenny has promised to bring a more attractive, possession-based style to the Irish game. After the contest, we caught up with our Irish Football Ambassador Alan Cawley to get his views and find out what he made of Ireland’s start to life under Stephen Kenny’s regime.
Cawley’s first thoughts were to call for patience from Ireland fans and pundits alike, and to give Kenny time to implement his ideas on the squad. He also hoped that the likes of Sheffield United’s David McGoldrick and Burnley’s Robbie Brady would return to the starting line-up for the match against Finland on Sunday.
Finally, Cawley had some strong words for Crystal Palace’s midfielder James McCarthy, who he felt “struggled” against Bulgaria. You can watch Cawley’s views in full in our interview with him below.
The Republic of Ireland welcome Finland to the Aviva Stadium on Sunday at 5pm and we also checked in with Alan to get his top tips for the UEFA Nations League tie.
The Finns come to Dublin on the back of a home defeat to Wales, and he fancies Ireland to make it two defeats from two for the visitors. Check out more betting tips from Alan on the video below:
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