The Kildare-based financial advisor, brother of the late Roscommon great Dermot, succeeds Anthony Tohill who led the country to a 2-0 series win in Australia in 2011.
Earley, 48, leads Ireland in this October’s two-test series, the first test taking place in as yet unconfirmed Ulster venue on Saturday, Oct 19 followed by the second in Croke Park the following week.
Earley, who joined the Melbourne Demons in 1983 and played in the Victoria Football League before returning to play for Roscommon and win an All Star in 1985 and two Connacht titles, is a member of the GAA’s Football Review Committee. He is a Gaelic football analyst with Setanta and TV3 and was involved in Tadhg Kennelly’s move to the Sydney Swans in 1999.
A press conference scheduled for Croke Park yesterday to announce Earley as manager was postponed following the death of his mother on Sunday.
Aside from his experience in both games, current Roscommon selector Sheeran sees Earley as an ideal man because of his management acumen.
“He is thorough in everything that he does especially in Gaelic football. As far back as I remember, even before he went to Australia, he had great organisation skills and great belief and commitment.
“It’s something that runs through the entire Earley family and when he went to Australia he was very practical about it. He said he was going to give it a good shot, felt he did and them came back to Gaelic football seamlessly. Only for a dicky back he would have played another five or six years.
“He’s a great thinker on the game, very tactical. He’d be a good man to take advice too and would listen to everything that people say.
“He wouldn’t be running them down but picking the bones of what they have to say. He knows a lot of people through his work and the GAA and he is a popular appointment.”
Earley will name his backroom team in the weeks ahead.