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McCarthy resigns as Ireland coach

Dublin: Mick McCarthy, who took Ireland to the World Cup but couldnít escape the fallout of his bitter feud with Roy Keane, resigned Tuesday after six and half years in charge of the national side.

McCarthy, Europeís longest-serving national soccer coach, negotiated a severance package with the Football Association of Ireland, Irish national broadcaster RTE and SKY Sports Television said.

The deal allows him to walk away immediately from a contract that ran until 2004.

Widespread reports said Don Givens, the current under-21 national coach, would become caretaker manager.

McCarthy, 43, had previously rejected calls for him to quit.

But in recent interviews he conceded that continuing acrimony over the Keane saga could be undermining team morale.

The coach came under fire after No. 14-ranked Ireland lost to Russia and Switzerland in its first two qualifying games for the 2004 European Championships.

He endured a roller-coaster ride in Irish public opinion since May, when he ordered his mercurial captain Keane to leave the teamís pre-World Cup training centre.

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