Sunday 25 August 2019

WATCH: Caoimhin Kelleher joins a select band of Irishmen as Corkman celebrates Champions League glory

MADRID, SPAIN - JUNE 01: Jordan Henderson of Liverpool prepares to lift the Champions League Trophy after after winning the UEFA Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on June 01, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - JUNE 01: Jordan Henderson of Liverpool prepares to lift the Champions League Trophy after after winning the UEFA Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on June 01, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher joined a list of great Irish names to have a collected a Champions League winners' medal in Madrid, after he looked on as the Reds claimed a sixth victory in the competition.

At the age of 20, Cork-born Kelleher now has the gold medal that confirms he has been part of a side that conquered Europe, even though he was a long way from getting onto the pitch for the Reds in their Champions League campaign.

With Allison Becker and Simon Mignolet ahead of Kelleher in Jurgen Klopp's pecking order, his trip to Madrid was all about adding to his banks of experience ahead of what he hopes will be a first team future at Anfield.

Yet already he has the biggest medal of them all in his back pocket, as the list of Irish names who have been part of European Cup winning teams had a new addition.

Minister of State with responsibility for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin T.D. has congratulated Kelleher on his medal, stating: “What a fantastic achievement for Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher tonight. Caoimhin joins an illustrious list of Irish players to win a Champions League medal. The Cork native certainly has a bright future ahead of him at both club and international level”.

Roy Keane and Denis Irwin are prominent members of that list after they played a key role in Manchester United's Champions League wins in 1999, while John O'Shea can be added to the list after United's 2008 final win against Chelsea in Moscow.

Ireland international Mark Lawrenson, Michael Robinson and Ronnie Whelan were European Cup winners with Liverpool in 1984, while Steve Heighway was part of the Reds teams that won the trophy in 1977, 1978 and 1981.

Steve Finnan is also on the list as he started the 2005 Champions League final for Liverpool, even though he was off the field long before Liverpool's famous second half comeback.

Shay Brennan is also on the list of Irish winners after he was a part if Manchester United's iconic 1968 European Cup winning side, alongside compatriot Tony Dunne.

Now young Kelleher has a medal that he will cherish for the rest of his life, with the Champions League glory Liverpool secured with their win against Tottenham in Madrid giving him a night he will never forget.

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