Monday 19 August 2019

Reds star Kelleher jets in as Kenny's kids take flight

 

Guus Hiddink, head coach of the China U-23s, congratulates Republic of Ireland U-21 manager Stephen Kenny after their opening game of the Toulon Tournament in Aubagne, France. Ireland won the game 4-1. Photo: Alexandre Dimou/Sportsfile
Guus Hiddink, head coach of the China U-23s, congratulates Republic of Ireland U-21 manager Stephen Kenny after their opening game of the Toulon Tournament in Aubagne, France. Ireland won the game 4-1. Photo: Alexandre Dimou/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Stephen Kenny admitted he was worried that Caoimhin Kelleher's exertions with Liverpool would have ruled him out of yesterday's Toulon Tournament opener.

Despite the Cork native not getting on the pitch in Saturday's Champions League final victory in Madrid, he remained with the squad for the celebrations, with Kenny's blessing.

He flew in from Manchester yesterday morning after joining Jurgen Klopp's team on the bus parade around the city of Liverpool on Sunday and only managed to link up with the squad just hours before they kicked off against a Guus Hiddink-managed China U-23 side yesterday.

"I had to get a flight from Manchester to Nice this morning and was delighted to start in goal. Hopefully we can build on this victory," Kelleher said.

He played his part in the 4-1 victory, making a crucial save when China were seeking an equaliser at 2-1. A stellar display by Conor Kearns in the training match victory over the senior squad last Thursday had been in Kenny's mind.

"I didn't know whether it would be too much to start Caoimhin after the last few days," admitted Kenny.

"Conor has done really well since coming into the squad. I'm only learning about Caoimhin because he hasn't played many U-23 games for Liverpool due to his involvement with the first team."

Irish Independent

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