Thursday 22 February 2018

Inside back: Where are they now?
Harry Kenny

Former Shamrock Rovers player

"There will only be one winner today and that will be Shamrock Rovers. We weren't used to losing in the eighties and that tradition will continue."

Harry Kenny has never lost faith in his old team and believes that they will do the double when they take on Sligo Rovers in today's FAI Ford Cup final.

Kenny joined Shamrock Rovers at 15 years of age when Johnny Giles called to his door to ask him to come up and be part of the professional set-up he was establishing at the Milltown-based club.

"Giles met myself and my parents, he told us all about what he wanted to do with football in Ireland and what he was going to do at Rovers. He had this bright idea that he'd get all the best young lads in Ireland and build a team that could compete in Europe.

"I signed up and quickly moved up through the ranks. I made my debut against Sligo when I was 16. It was amazing to be that young and playing with Irish internationals like Paddy Mulligan, Johnny Giles and Eamon Dunphy. They were all old fellas at the time and I was just a young fella coming through."

Although clubs in England were interested in Kenny, he was a home bird and at that time Rovers and Giles offered him everything he wanted from a career as a professional footballer.

"I had a fantastic time with Rovers. We won the league and cup double three times and won the league again for a fourth time. I was part of a very, very good team. There was a lot of great players like Liam O'Brien, who went off to Manchester United, and John Coady, who went to Chelsea. We competed well in Europe. Arsenal and Manchester United used to come and play us up in Milltown. We beat Arsenal and drew with United."

Kenny played full-time for four years but then the league went part-time and the players that Giles had recruited were forced to get jobs. Kenny went working for Quinnsworth who at that time owned Lifestyle Sports. He moved up through the company and eventually became one of five main shareholders. They built it up from 35 shops to 70 and sold it on three years ago.

He then joined the FAI and took a role assisting Noel King with the under 17 girls team. Kenny played an integral part in their recent World Cup campaign in Trinidad and Tobago. After King got the job as the men's under 21 boss, Kenny took over the manager's role with the under 17 girls.

Sunday Independent

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