Mick McCarthy, Chris Hughton and Brian McDermott have all withdrawn from the race to succeed Giovanni Trapattoni due to their club commitments in England.
McCarthy tipped Martin O’Neill for the job, admitted he wants to manage his country again and confirmed he had a release clause in his contract at Ipswich which allowed him to leave for Ireland for free -- but that ran out last month.
The 2002 World Cup boss said, “Every time it comes up I’d like to be linked with it. That’s because of the job I did, not because I’m available. I’m contracted to Ipswich and loving the job I’m doing.
“In time I hope we can get to the Premier League with Ipswich. But it’s right I get linked because I did a good job there. Behind Jack Charlton I did as good a job, if not better, than anybody else.
“Martin O’Neill, because of circumstances, is unemployed. If I was unemployed it might be a different story. I’ve been quoted before in saying it’s a job I’d love to do again. I had success in that job and loved every minute of it, but I could say that about Wolves and Sunderland and to a lesser degree Millwall. I’ve loved everywhere I’ve been.”
McCarthy may yet get the call from the FAI if O’Neill somehow fails to land the job, but he was non-committal on his intentions in such a situation.
He added, “I’m not going to clarify or deny anything. The process of elimination is, if Martin O’Neill did turn it down, which is not going to happen, then somebody should go to Marcus Evans at Ipswich.
“Martin O’Neill is out of work and he can walk straight into the job. I think he’s perfect for them.”
Norwich boss Hughton dismissed the stories linking him with the job. He said: “I understand my name has been mentioned along with other previous players for Ireland. It is absolutely just speculation. I am manager of Norwich. I am extremely happy here.”
Leeds boss McDermott, born to Irish parents in England, is also adamant that he will be staying at Elland Road but would love the Ireland job in the future.
McDermott said, “I feel I’ve been adopted here at Leeds and I owe the supporters. The Ireland job is for the future.”
The Irish accent voted sexiest in the world