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Fresh starts for international duo

Darragh Lenihan and Corry Evans will have new national team managers when football returns

24 April 2020

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Two Rovers players will have new international managers to impress when football resumes following the Coronavirus outbreak.

Stephen Kenny took over from Mick McCarthy as the Republic of Ireland boss earlier this month and his new-look coaching team will include former Rovers trio Damien Duff, Keith Andrews and Alan Kelly.

Darragh Lenihan, who has two caps for his country, believes the new appointment is a fresh start for everyone in the squad and it is something he is looking forward to after experiencing some mixed fortunes under McCarthy.

“It’s quite exciting actually,” said the 26-year-old defender.

“I’ve spoken to a number of people who have played under him.

“He likes to play football the right way and from what the lads said, he’s a really good man-manager.

“So it’s something that we’re looking forward to and fingers crossed, when all this stops, if I get called up to the Ireland team, it’s something I’ll look forward to.

“I think I was called up twice under Mick McCarthy and both times I was either injured or I think I’d been called up for this one just gone in March and obviously the games were called off.

“The QPR game earlier this season, I’d been called up just before the international break and then I got injured with my knee, so I missed both times when I was meant to be called up under Mick McCarthy.

“It is good when a new manager comes in. It gives you a little bit of a boost and everyone has to prove themselves again, so it potentially gives you a bit of a kick to show what you can do.”

Lenihan made his Ireland debut against the USA in June 2018, before earning his second cap last season against Northern Ireland, who are now also looking to appoint a new manager after Michael O’Neill stepped down on Wednesday.

The 50-year-old has left his role after eight years in charge to focus solely on his job at Stoke City.

Rovers midfielder Corry Evans, who has 59 caps for Northern Ireland, spoke very highly of the outgoing national team manager, who guided his country to the Euro 2016 finals in France.

“He’s obviously very close to all the lads and he’s had a great time in charge and brought us on leaps and bounds, and we’ll be forever grateful for what he’s done for the country,” said the 29-year-old.

“He’s made dreams come true, playing at major European Championships, which you only dream of as a kid growing up in Northern Ireland.

“You never expect to reach one of those major finals, which we managed to do and a lot of that goes down to Michael, in terms of where he’s taken us from and where we are now as a squad and as a country.”

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