LIVERPOOL FC fans all over West Cork will be celebrating the club’s Premier League title success for some time to come – but there’s also a connection between this region and Jurgen Klopp’s all-conquering heroes.
Young Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhín Kelleher (21), who made his senior debut in a 2-0 Carabao Cup win against MK Dons last September, has strong Dunmanway links.
Caoimhín’s late grandfather, Timothy, was from Dunmanway, as was his late father, Ray Kelleher, who grew up in the town and was heavily involved in Dohenys GAA Club as a player and then a trainer.
Noted as a fine footballer and hurler Ray was on the Dohenys team that won (3-10 to 5-3) the 1978 West Cork minor football final against Bantry – that win ended Dohenys’ long wait for this particular title as they hadn’t won it since 1942.
When Ray’s playing days finished up he turned his hand to training and coaching, and the general consensus is that he was way ahead of his time. He was involved with the Dohenys’ junior A and intermediate football teams that won the county championships in 1993 and ’95 respectively.
Ray passed away in 2014 but his place in Doheny GAA history is guaranteed, and the town will take great pride in watching his son, Caoimhín, who is from Blackrock, develop on the big stage with Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp once hailed Kelleher as ‘an outstanding talent’ and no doubt that can be traced back to his Dunmanway genes. Hopefully, Caoimhín might be handed his Premier League debut in the weeks ahead after the Reds were crowned champions on Thursday night.