THE man described by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp as the ‘best number-two goalie in the world’ has a very strong connection to Dunmanway.
Caoimhín Kelleher enhanced his growing reputation even more with a convincing display between the posts as Liverpool defeated Chelsea to win the Carabao Cup final last Sunday.
The former Ringmahon Rangers shot-stopper was not beaten as the game finished 0-0 after extra-time and then went to penalties at Wembley. Even though Kelleher (23) didn’t save any Chelsea spot kicks, his own penalty proved to be the match-winner as the Reds won their first domestic cup title in ten years.
‘For me Caoimhín Kelleher is the best number-two goalie in the world,’ Liverpool boss Klopp gushed.
‘The game he played was absolutely incredible. I can remember at least two incredible saves, and probably there were more. He proved that the decision to line him up was absolutely right.
‘And then in a very spectacular penalty shoot-out he showed the whole range of his skill set. He finished one off with his really skilled feet. So top class.’
Kelleher, Liverpool's number two goalkeeper behind Alisson Becker, hails from strong Dunmanway stock. His late grandfather, Timothy, was from Dunmanway while Caoimhín’s late father, Ray Kelleher, is a Doheny GAA legend.
Ray was involved in the Dohenys as a player (he helped the club win the 1978 West Cork minor football final against Bantry) and then a coach with his local club. Kelleher, as a coach, played a key role in the Dohenys’ junior A and intermediate football teams that won the county championships in 1993 and ’95 respectively. He was also involved with the Doheny senior footballers. While he passed away in 2014, his place in the annals of Doheny history is secure. The success of his son, Caoimhín, is a source of pride locally as those strong Dunmanway genes play a role in his remarkable rise – from Blackrock to Liverpool, powered by Dohenys DNA.