Giovanni Trapattoni has yet to vacate the Republic of Ireland hot-seat, but the scramble to replace the 74-year-old Italian has already begun in earnest at FAI headquarters.
The 2-1 home loss against Sweden dashed their hopes of booking their place in Brazil and with Ireland now needing miracles away to Austria and Germany, the veteran manager is expected to leave his £1m-a-year post when World Cup qualifying concludes next month.
Martin O’Neill, who has been consistently linked with international vacancies on both sides of the border in Ireland over the past decade, is runaway even money favourite to take over at the Aviva Stadium.
The former Celtic and Aston Villa chief has been out of work since getting sacked 15 months into a three-year deal at Sunderland in March, but not having a job did not stop him refusing an offer to coach his native Northern Ireland in 2011.
O’Neill preferred to wait for another Premier League club to offer him a job back then and there has been little indication that the 61-year-old is ready to start afresh in an international side’s tracksuit.
At such a short price and with the position unlikely to be filled before Ireland’s last qualifier at home to Kazakhstan in October, picking a runner from the rest of the field at odds of 10/1 or more is the sensible option in this most volatile of markets.
Second-favourite Mick McCarthy is an interesting candidate to retake the reigns he held with some success for six years, but the claims of his World Cup 2002 nemesis Roy Keane can no longer be ignored by the FAI’s Abbotstown big-wigs.
The Green Army fans are crying out for a manager they can put their faith in and the most decorated player to ever wear the emerald jersey, who has been the subject of early betting interest, is now third-favourite for the job alongside Leeds’ Brian McDermott at 14/1.
Keane’s managerial career has stalled after early success at Sunderland could not be maintained, leading to his departure in 2008, followed by a poor 18-month spell in the Championship with Ipswich.
He may not be the obvious choice to take over in Dublin, but the FAI have form for fast-tracking inspirational boys in green into the top job, with fellow former captains Johnny Giles, McCarthy and Steve Staunton all handed the gig before their 40th birthday.
Keane is now 42 and with no money available for a Trapattoni-style marquee name, the Cork man could be Ireland’s best option for the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.