Football/Soccer

Baraclough aiming to get the better of Kenny again

Northern Ireland's new manager Ian Baraclough.

REPEATING an all-Ireland success over Stephen Kenny is the aim for new Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough despite the friendly nature of their rivalry.

The Republic of Ireland manager reciprocated the congratulations he had received from Baraclough after his own appointment, the pair having known each other since their League of Ireland days in the previous decade.

“It was good to hear from him,” said Baraclough. “I received a text from him. He got the job several months ago now and I immediately texted him my congratulations.

“It was strange. I said it would be good to lock horns again in November - or the possibility of it.”

That could be the outcome, with the two teams due to meet in Belfast if they win their Euro play-off semi-finals in early October.

Baraclough enjoyed early success as Sligo Rovers manager, winning the League of Ireland in 2012, a season when Kenny was sacked by Shamrock Rovers:

“We had some good tussles as managers and he’d allow me to say I got the better of him on a couple of occasions, in a cup final [the 2014 Setanta Sports Cup] and when he was at Shamrock Rovers.

“But he managed to turn the tables just as I was leaving Sligo and he took Dundalk onto great things.

“It would be nice to meet up with him in November because that would mean we have beaten Bosnia.

"I would love to repeat the 1-0 win I had over Stephen Kenny's Dundalk in a cup final! I'll take that in November.”

Baraclough has enjoyed other great moments, and hopes to draw on those memories to achieve success with NI:

"You build up experiences throughout your career. I can look back on the play-off win over Rangers [as Motherwell manager in 2015] in a two-legged game. We went to Ibrox and beat them 3-1 in their own back yard with only 300 of our own in the stadium.

"At Sligo, we achieved a lot in one-off games. You have to treat them as special occasions. You can't allow the players to get too excited, you have to keep your cool.

“You have to think clearly, not over-complicate things, and have clear processes. The players want clarity. They want to know their role.”

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Football/Soccer