Stephen Kenny back in management with St Patrick's Athletic

The former Ireland manager begins with a home game against Derry City

Stephen Kenny’s final game in charge came in a 1-1 friendly draw against New Zealand (Niall Carson/PA)
Stephen Kenny begins his tenure as St Patrick's manager against Derry City

FORMER Ireland boss Stephen Kenny has been confirmed as the new manager of St Patrick’s Athletic.

The 52-year-old, who returns to a League of Ireland dugout for the first time in five years, has signed a contract with the Saints to take him to the end of the 2029 season and his first game in charge sees him coming up against his old club, as Derry City visit Inchicore tonight.

Kenny, replacing Jon Daly who departed just over a week ago, took his first training session with his new squad yesterday and can’t wait to come up against his good friend Ruaidhrí Higgins.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, I’m looking forward to getting started,” insisted the Dubliner, who had the Derry gaffer as part of his coaching staff with both Ireland and Dundalk.

“It’s a new chapter in my life and a new chapter for the club, and I’ll be giving it everything.

“Garrett Kelleher (St Pat’s chairman) has shared his vision for the club with me for a long time, he has plans for the stadium, to expand the club into America, European progression and a lot of exciting plans really.

“The reason I signed a longer contract is to build the club over a period of time and I’m looking forward to driving it forward.

“My mother used to come to watch St Pat’s, she’s from Inchicore and lived in Ballyfermot, so there’s a good connection there.

“It’s a big job ahead to rebuild and to drive the club on.

“It’s such a busy time now with three games in a week and we look forward to it.”

As for Higgins, he stated he was only focusing on his team and wants them to just worry about themselves.

“I’ve seen a real focus from the group this week about what we want to do, regardless of anything else,” explained Higgins.

Kenny has returned to the club where he started his League of Ireland coaching odyssey, as manager of the Saints Under-21 team during the 1997-98 season before moving into his first senior role at Longford Town.

Kenny inspired the club to surprise FAI Cup success before winning more prizes at Bohemians and Derry City, which led to a move to the Scottish Premiership with Dunfermline Athletic.

Kenny returned to the League of Ireland again at the Brandywell and then moved to Dundalk following a brief stint in charge at Shamrock Rovers.

Success at Oriel Park earned Kenny international recognition with the job of Ireland Under-21s boss before taking over the senior role, which he held for three years.