Vera Pauw’s reign as Ireland women’s manager is over.
The Dutch woman helped Ireland qualify for last month’s women’s World Cup, becoming the first manager ever to do so, but that wasn’t enough.
Tension and off-field issues stalked the Irish team into Australia and beyond and ultimately, the association have opted against offering Pauw a new contract.
Showdown talks on Pauw’s future took place between the 11-strong FAI board of directors in Abbotstown on Tuesday night and at the end of a six hour meeting, they finally came to the conclusion that, ahead of Ireland’s Euro 2025 qualification campaign, the team would be better served with a new manager in charge.
Beginning at 4.00, the Abbotstown meeting stretched into darkness as a ‘detailed report’ of the entire World Cup campaign, complied by the players, Pauw and her management team, was discussed.
“On behalf of the Football Association of Ireland, we would like to thank Vera for her hard work and commitment over the past four years and wish her well for the future,” said Jonathan Hill, the FAI chief executive in a statement.
“In particular, I wish to acknowledge the role she played in leading Ireland to the Fifa Women’s World Cup 2023 where our women’s team made history and inspired a nation,” he added.
“The future is bright for women and girls’ football and our focus now is building upon the work done by Vera and the historic achievements of our women’s team, which we see as a platform to support the next phase of the journey for the team, and more broadly the development of women and girls’ football in this country.”
Those off-field issues will certainly have played a huge part in the decision. Things started to become cloudy regarding Pauw when an Athletic article was published earlier this year about her season coaching Houston Dash in 2018.
Seven anonymous sources made allegations of bullying against Pauw and, in a tense press conference before Ireland jetted to Australia, team captain Katie McCabe said that the sideshow had become a “real negative distraction”.
Pauw went onto clash with her captain in their final group game against Nigeria over substitutions. McCabe called for a change in tactics during that game and Pauw refused. “She’s not the coach,” said the Dutch woman afterwards. McCabe subsequently tweeted out a zipped mouth emoji.
— Katie McCabe (@Katie_McCabe11) July 31, 2023
The Irish manager danced on the stage at the team’s homecoming but at that time you could sense it, and so it proved true, it was her final dance.