Who Should Be Republic of Ireland WNT Next Permanent Manager?

Republic of Ireland’s women’s national team has been thriving since the controversial departure of Vera Pauw.

The Girls in Green are sitting top of their UEFA Nations League group, with two wins from their opening pair of games.

Ireland kicked off their campaign with a historic 3-0 victory against Northern Ireland in front of a record crowd at the Aviva Stadium. That was followed up by a comprehensive 4-0 win over Hungary in Budapest.

The players have returned to their clubs, and won’t resume the inaugural Nations League run until late October.

This will give the FAI an ideal opportunity to appoint a permanent replacement for Vera Pauw, who wasn’t offered a contract renewal after an internal post-World Cup review.

Let’s run down some of the best options to guide the Republic of Ireland WNT into their 2025 UEFA European Championship qualifiers, and beyond.

Eileen Gleeson 

We’ll start with the obvious choice.

Eileen Gleeson replaced Vera Pauw on an interim basis ahead of Ireland’s opening UEFA Nations League fixtures. 

The Dubliner previously acted as Vera Pauw’s assistant coach and the FAI Head of Women and Girls Football

While being a confessed limited player, Gleeson has had an extensive coaching career over the past 23 years. 

She started in the Dublin Women’s Soccer League with Ballymun United and St. James’s Gate. Managerial spells in the Women’s National League followed with Peamount United and UCD Waves. Winning two league titles with the former. 

Gleeson’s only excursion was to Scotland, when she managed Glasgow City. 

It would make sense to turn her interim manager title into a permanent one. She is experienced around this crop of national players and has guided them to the perfect start in the Nations League matches, winning their two games, netting seven goals, and keeping two clean sheets. 

Casey Stoney

Perhaps, this selection is vastly more unrealistic, as it would be a major coup by the FAI.

Casey Stoney had a glittering career as a player and looks poised to be just as successful as a coach.

Ex-Arsenal star won two league titles, three FA Cups and a league cup with the Gunners, and another FA Cup in 2005 with Charlton Athletic.

Since hanging up her boots, Stoney sat in the hot seat at Manchester United during the first three years of their existence, winning the Women’s Championship and promotion to the Women’s Super League in 2019.

Stoney now plys her trade with San Diego Wave, where she has current Ireland international player, Kyra Carusa in her squad.

The NWSL 2022 Coach of the Year may need some persuading to leave her current post, but Stoney’s experience would be an undeniable asset.

Laura Harvey

Laura Harvey has been coaching for 21 years since her early retirement from playing due to a ruptured ACL injury.

Harvey’s resume includes a variety of coaching roles at club and international level.

She began balancing an assistant role at Birmingham City while working her way through underage ranks for England.

Harvey’s time at Arsenal was fruitful as she guided the North Londoner side to a pair of Women’s Super League and FA Cup double in 2011. They would lift another league trophy the following season.

She’s another coach who may need to be convinced away from her current position in America.

Harvey has called the US of A home since 2013, where she won the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship in 2020, along with three NWSL Shields with her present team, OL Reign.

Laura Harvey is still extremely young for a coach but has an enormous amount of experience compared to her similarly-aged counterparts.

If the FAI plays its cards right, they could have a proven winner as their women’s national team manager for the foreseeable future.

Vlatko Andonovski

Just like Vera Pauw, Vlatko Andonovski was out of a job after the World Cup.

United States of America was heading into the tournament in Australia and New Zealand eyeing up their third consecutive World Cup triumph.

Naturally, they were the favourites leading up to the competition, and carried a colossus weight of expectation, as they’ve won a medal in all their eight previous appearances.

Andonovski and his side were shockingly dumped out by Sweden on penalties at the Round of 16 phase, after easily navigating their way out of their group.

It was a World Cup that really brought women’s football to the forefront of mainstream media on a global scale. America’s early exit was one of the significant stories of the summer and was a source of embarrassment for a squad with such vocal confidence.

Andonovski resigned several weeks after the tournament and may be ready for a swift switch of international allegiances.

The Macedonian won the CONCACAF Women’s Championship with America in 2022, along with a bronze medal at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

He became a US citizen in 2015 and has spent his entire coaching career in the States, most notably winning the NWSL Championship in 2014 and 2015 with FC Kanas City.

Lisa Fallon

Lisa Fallon has been a part of the fabric of Irish sports for a long-time, due to her media work with RTE, Newstalk, and Today FM.

She has thrived across multiple sports in a playing and coaching capacity. Fallon played for the likes of Southampton, Gillingham, and St. Patrick’s Athletic during her 23-year career.

Lisa Fallon has continuously broken boundaries in Irish football.
She became the first female Head Coach of a professional men’s team when she was appointed by Galway United in November 2020.

Other coaching roles included Head Coach with Shamrock Rovers women’s team, Team Analyst for the Northern Ireland national team, First Team Coach with Cork City, and Strategy Coach with Chelsea.

In 2018, she was also part of Jim Gavin’s Dublin backroom staff as they secured their fourth consecutive All-Ireland senior title.

Fallon is currently working with FIFA’s High Performance Department.

She has her fingers in multiple pies, and her range of high-profile roles in seriously demanding environments understandably makes her one of the front-runners for the job.

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