Mick McCarthy could be invited back for a second spell as Republic of Ireland manager after Giovanni Trapattoni's reign ended with World Cup disappointment.
Following a meeting with officials on their return from the 1-0 qualifier defeat in Austria, the result that effectively ended Ireland's hopes of qualification, Trapattoni and assistant Marco Tardelli left their jobs by mutual consent on Wednesday morning.
But as the pair said their goodbyes, the Football Association of Ireland board was beginning the task of identifying the man to take the nation forward.
In a radio interview, chief executive John Delaney pinpointed Ipswich manager McCarthy, former Republic midfielder Roy Keane and Northern Irishman Martin O'Neill as potential candidates, together with Leeds boss Brian McDermott and Norwich chief Chris Hughton.
McCarthy managed the Republic from 1996 to 2002, bowing out after a poor start to the Euro 2004 qualifying campaign. He and Keane famously fell out before the 2002 World Cup, with the latter being sent home.
Former Sunderland boss O'Neill has been at the top of the bookmakers' list since it emerged that Trapattoni's fate would be sealed by a failure to win at the Ernst Happel Stadion, and he remains a firm favourite at the betting shops.
Delaney told Newstalk: "The board will meet within the next week. Today was a day to deal with Giovanni and Marco in a dignified manner and hopefully people will respect the job he has done.
"We will meet and will determine a process. We do have time. The European qualifiers don't start til next September. We will take stock of the last couple of days and then discuss the process.
"I think there will be plenty of interest, because first of all, 24 teams go to the European Championships and it's genuinely accepted we have a good crop of young players.
"It will be interesting to see who puts their best foot forward. I think names like Mick (McCarthy), Brian McDermott, Chris Hughton, Roy Keane all come into the pot, Martin O'Neill of course.
"Mick has done a very good job for Ireland and in England as well. We have to look at who can get the best out of the players available to us."
Revealing how Trapattoni's departure had unfolded, Delaney added: "We spoke to the manager and Marco Tardelli last night. We flew home from Austria and met this morning at half past nine.
"Very quickly we felt the right thing to do at this juncture was to part company but trust me, there was a lot of emotion and there is a strong friendship there.
"I think he felt he had done a good job. When he first came we hadn't qualified for a major tournament for a long time. He genuinely believes there's a group of young players available to the next manager. Most people in Irish football would agree he's left Irish football in a better state."
Trapattoni, who returned to Dublin with his players during the early hours, confirmed his exit in a statement.
He said: "I want to thank everyone in Ireland who has given us their support during our time here which has always meant a lot to us.
"We leave this country with emotion because we understand the Irish supporters who have a well-deserved international reputation and they have our utmost respect.
"I would like to thank John Delaney, [FAI president] Paddy McCaul, [honorary secretary] Michael Cody and the FAI board for their support and friendship over the last five and a half years.
"I would also want to thank all FAI staff members, including the backroom team and the players, who have been great to work with during the last three campaigns.
"I wish them well in the future and hope that the job we have done leaves everything in a good place for my successor to take over."
Trapattoni took up his post in February 2008 as the FAI, with the help of funding from businessman Denis O'Brien, sought a return to the days when the nation was a fixture at major tournament finals.
They nearly received an early return on the investment when they reached the play-offs for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, only to be denied by France striker Thierry Henry's infamous handball intervention.
Ireland exorcised that particular ghost two years later when they defeated Estonia over two legs to reach the finals of Euro 2012.
Trapattoni's methods were never universally acclaimed, with his conservatism frustrating those who wanted to see an expansive game, something he always insisted was not possible with the players at his disposal.
As long as results continued in a positive vein, he was able to justify his approach.
However, a disappointing showing in Poland and Ukraine, where the Republic failed to collect a single point from difficult fixtures against Croatia, Spain and Italy, highlighted the limits of Trapattoni's Ireland, and the current campaign has seen his best-laid plans unravel alarmingly.
Ireland have a qualifier to play in Germany next month before Kazakhstan arrive at the Aviva Stadium to bring a close to a disappointing qualifying campaign.