After a bit of confusion over his start date, and the potential for his under-21 reign to impact the beginning of his senior role, Stephen Kenny finally takes charge of the Republic of Ireland on Thursday night.

Bulgaria will be the answer to the pub quiz question in the years to come, with Finland set to visit an empty Aviva Stadium on Sunday.

Undoubtedly, for the squad and supporters alike, the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Slovakia next month will be there in the back of the mind.

The Tallaght-native has earned his shot at the big time, after showing what he could do with Dundalk, both domestically in the SSE Airtricity League, and on their Europa League run in 2016.

There have naturally been low points in a long managerial career, including spells with Dunfermline in Scotland and Shamrock Rovers at home.

"He's got the best job in the world, from an Irish perspective."

Speaking on the RTÉ Soccer Podcast, Kenny Cunningham says that he thinks Kenny is making all the right noises ahead of Thursday.

"We all know how Stephen likes his teams to play," said the man with 72 caps for Ireland.

"Ultimately until we see it rolled out we're not going to be able to judge. I'm quite excited about the prospect, in all honesty.

"I like the initial thoughts from the manager. I like the way he's talking up the players. There hasn't been enough of that for me for a long time.

"That all augurs well, and I'm quite excited about the prospects of the team looking at the squad, the individual attributes of the players.

"I'm very optimistic about the games in the immediate future."

The outbreak of the coronavirus in Europe greatly disrupted the sporting calendar, with Euro 2020 pushed back a full year until next summer.

Originally, had the Republic managed to qualify for the finals, it would have been Mick McCarthy at the helm for a competition which is set to see tournament games in Dublin for the first time.

Now, with the change over having taken place from McCarthy to Kenny, the Dubliner has a chance to manage the national side at the European Championships in his home town.

Despite getting little time with the squad, having only taken his first training session this week, Cunningham says it's a dream position for him to be in.

"I don't feel too bad for him," he joked.

"He's got the best job in the world, from an Irish perspective.

"I think the over-riding emotion, from Stephen's point of view, must be just excitement to meet up with the players. I'm sure he's been doing a lot of prep with the lads, (assistant managers) Damien (Duff) and Keith (Andrews).

"I'm sure they can't wait to get going. Yes, they've only got a couple of days prep prior to the game against Bulgaria, but the game which is really driving everything over the next few months is the Slovakia away game - the play-off game.

"If you look at it in that respect, I think the games against Bulgaria and Finland - for me that's actually pretty good preparation for such an important game.

"They'll be very competitive games, a nice little run in, in terms of a bit of quality time with the players.

"I think when you look at Slovakia in the distance, and getting a few competitive games, sharpen up, get to know the players, and get that philosophy across, I actually think it's reasonable amount of time.

"There's a fair chunk of time there."

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Follow Bulgaria v Republic of Ireland this Thursday via our live blog on RTÉ.ie and the RTÉ News app or listen to live commentary on RTÉ 2fm's Game On.