Shiels extends reign as boss of Northern Ireland Women following Euros qualification success

KENNY SHIELS has extended his tenure as Northern Ireland’s Women’s manager following their fairytale Women's Euros qualification.  

The former Derry City gaffer has signed a two-year contract weeks after masterminding his side’s historic play-offs triumph over Ukraine. 

On his contract extension Shiels, 65, said: “My job is to continue to build on the momentum we have generated and prepare for next summer’s Euros.

“The success of the Northern Ireland senior women’s team has added to the interest in the women’s game from the grassroots level up. 

“I’m delighted with this development and thankful to the Irish Football Association for making this happen.” 

Shiels, whose managerial career has seen him take charge of clubs in Northern Ireland, England, Scottish giants Kilmarnock, was appointed as the senior women’s national team manager in May 2019. 

His side, which includes Birmingham City’s Rebecca Holloway, defeated Ukraine 2-1 away in Kovalivka before securing their Euros spot with a 2-0 in a second leg win in Belfast. 

Their 4-1 aggregate victory over their opponents – who are listed 25 above them in FIFA’s world rankings – saw Shiels’ squad become the first Northern women’s team to reach a major international football tournament.

The former Kilmarnock manager’s decision to extend his contract has been praised by squad members including Durham ace Sarah Robson and Liverpool’s Rachel Furness.  

It comes in the same month as the release of ‘A New Dream’, a short film taking a behind the scenes look at Northern Ireland’s 2022 Women's Euros qualification journey. 

And skipper Marissa Callaghan, who works as a Girls’ Participation Officer at the Irish FA, hopes her team’s success will encourage more youngsters to take up football.

Callaghan told the Irish FA’s web site: “We’ve spoken about how we need to do as much as we can for the community and young girls.

“We need to make sure that we get out and about to the local clubs and schools – wherever we can go. 

“We want the young girls to see us and get inspired. I think that’s the legacy we want to leave in the next year.”

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