Former Irish soccer international Richard Dunne has said he remains open to the prospect of managing in the League of Ireland at some point in the future.
An-ex Home Farm youth star, Dunne was previously linked with Premier Division outfit Bohemians following the departure of Keith Long as manager for the closing months of their 2022 campaign.
Derry native Declan Devine ultimately assumed the hot seat at Dalymount Park, but Dunne isn’t ruling out following in the footsteps of his former Republic of Ireland team-mates Damien Duff and Colin Healy – currently in charge of Shelbourne and Cork City respectively.
There has been a huge shift in the visibility of the League of Ireland and with the academies. It has been really interesting and if you look at it, it is way more professional. Everything is just getting better. The opportunity for me to manage or coach in the Premier League is just not going to happen,” Dunne remarked at the launch of the EA Sports LOI Academy Development Program in Abbotstown today.
“You might get an opportunity at a League Two team, but why not share that knowledge back here? It is more valuable to the team you are at and the future generations. Everyone has seen the success of Rovers and that’s the gateway to everything. If there was an opportunity around I am certainly open minded to it.
“I think Damien has been a brilliant leading candidate for ex-footballers. If we are to go looking for a job, we are not doing it as an ego thing. It’s a career choice. You want to try and get pleasure and get that competition back.”
Having played his part in getting the Republic of Ireland to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, Dunne also helped the side reach the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine 10 years later.
It is the latter tournament in 2024 – which will be held in Germany – that current Irish boss Stephen Kenny will be seeking to guide his troops to.
While there is an element of pressure on his fellow Tallaght man to deliver results in the forthcoming campaign, Dunne also believes people need to be about realistic Ireland’s chances in a qualifying group that includes last year’s World Cup runners-up France and Netherlands.
“I think if you look back, there’s not many Irish sides who’d have fancied that group. It’s difficult. The goal is to qualify, that’s the be-all and end-all of it, but there has to be a bit of realism about who we’re playing. It’s a tough, tough, group to get out of. If we do, brilliant. If not, it’ll come down to performances,” Dunne added.
Ireland has improved over the last while. The last couple of games, no, but before we improved. Started to score goals, started to pick up better results. Huge shift from where we were two or three years ago to what we are now. We’re going in the right direction.”
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