NEIL LENNON is poised to go head to head with former Celtic team-mate Roy Keane for the Republic of Ireland manager’s job.

The Hoops legend and the Manchester United icon, who made 10 league appearances in season 2005/06 for the Parkhead club, are both in the frame for the post after the Irish FA decided not to renew Stephen Kenny’s contract.

Fifty-two-year-old Lenny, who had two spells in charge of the champions, has been out of work since being sacked by Cypriot outfit Omonia Nicosia just over a year ago.

GREEN FOR GO…Neil Lennon during his glorious Celtic playing days.

Keane, also 52, worked as No.2 to Martin O’Neill in the Irish set-up for five years from November 2013 to 2018.

The search is now on for the successor to Kenny, who replaced another one-time Celt, Mick McCarthy, at the helm in April 2020. He was in the dug-out for the final time during this week’s 1-1 friendly draw with New Zealand in Dublin.

The departure of the former Dunfermline gaffer comes following the nation’s failure to qualify for the Euro 24 Championships in Germany next summer.

Lennon could now follow his mentor O’Neill in playing for Northern Ireland, managing the Hoops and now taking the job at the Republic of Ireland.

Keane, though, has emerged as a candidate for the post in which Kenny managed only six wins in 29 competitive games.

The departing boss said: “I am immensely proud to have served as Republic of Ireland manager and it has been the ultimate honour to manage my country.

GREEN FOR GO…Roy Keane holds off Dado Prso in Celtic’s 1-0 win over Rangers at Ibrox in February 2006.

“I want to thank all of the players who have represented Ireland during my tenure for their exceptional attitude and high level of professionalism. It has been really special to have been an integral part of their journey on the international stage.”

Kenny, speaking to Sky Sports, added: “On behalf of the team, I thank you all for your incredible support right through to the end. My commitment to Irish football remains resolute and I look forward to supporting the team and wishing them every success.”

In recent times, Lennon has been mentioned as a possible at posts at former club Hibs, Aberdeen and, more recently, St Johnstone in the Premiership.

Now his period on the sidelines could be over with the Irish international post now vacant.

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