Diarmuid O’Carroll has confirmed that his coaching qualifications were listed accurately in his application to become the new Northern Ireland U17 and U19 manager.
The Killarney man was left “devastated” last weekend after his appointment by the IFA was reversed within 24 hours due to an administrative error.
The U-turn led to confusion on Sunday before it emerged that O’Carroll technically did not have the correct coaching licence for the job. The Motherwell U20 boss has attained his ‘A’ and ‘B’ badges but he does not yet have the necessary UEFA Pro Licence to take on the role, although he is currently enrolled in a Pro Licence course in Scotland. When the IFA pointed this out to O’Carroll, the former Killarney Athletic player officially withdrew his application.
However, speaking to the BBC this week, the highly rated coach clarified that his correct qualifications were included in his initial job application.
“I have had the chance over the last few days to review my application in full and it clearly states that my Pro Licence, which is the question mark in this whole process, is ongoing,” he said. “I’ve put that in the qualification section of the application.
“I’ve never tried to hide it, anyone who follows me on social media or has anything to do with me will know that I am talking about the assignments and the excitement of the (Pro Licence) process at all times.
“It’s simply a technicality issue in terms of the criteria of the role and it’s nobody’s fault. I have detailed it in the form and I have never consciously tried to mislead anybody. I’ve tried to be open and honest throughout the process.
“It is something that we need to move on from. The association will move on and, from my point of view, I will move on with my own career and take huge confidence from the fact that I was the person chosen.”
In response to O’Carroll’s comments, the IFA issued the following statement:
“We cannot go into specific cases but can confirm all Irish FA application forms contain clear questions allowing the applicants to confirm they meet the essential criteria for the role. These answers are signed off as accurate by the applicant and then used by the panel to further shortlist. Only when applicants have confirmed they meet the essential criteria, can they move to the next stage of the process.”
Ross Road native O’Carroll had been singled out as the outstanding candidate for the role following two interviews and a practical assessment. Following the mix-up, the IFA said they would “revisit the pool of other candidates to decide next steps” and on Tuesday they unveiled Academy Head Coach Gerard Lyttle as the new U17 and U19 manager.
It is undoubtedly an unfortunate turn of events for the 33-year-old, whose appointment had been greeted warmly in footballing circles in the north. The former Ireland U21 is a popular figure in Northern Ireland following successful stints as a player with Glenavon, Cliftonville and Crusaders, during which time he won four consecutive league titles (two apiece with Cliftonville and Crusaders).
On a positive note, O’Carroll has held encouraging talks with Motherwell and a return to Fir Park seems imminent.
“The people at Motherwell have been nothing but fantastic with me throughout my 18 months there, and they were among the first people on the phone to check I was alright. I have had very productive conversations with the manager and the chief executive, so that is something I am excited to get back into.”