Stephen Kenny: Caoimhín Kelleher needs more games to challenge for starting jersey

Liverpool back-up keeper has only made five senior appearances at Anfield due to the excellence of Alisson Becker
Stephen Kenny: Caoimhín Kelleher needs more games to challenge for starting jersey

Caoimhín Kelleher, right, and Mark Travers during a Republic of Ireland training session at PGA Catalunya Resort in Girona, Spain. Picture: Pedro Salado/Sportsfile

REPUBLIC of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny has admitted the biggest challenge to Caoimhín Kelleher's international future is the brilliance of Alisson Becker.

The 22-year-old keeper has made five senior appearances for Liverpool this season, two of them in the Champions League, but has not been able to get the regular football he needs to challenge Darren Randolph for the number one spot for Ireland.

Kenny said: "Caoimhín got some games at Liverpool - but it's very, very hard to play at Liverpool because you've got one of the top goalkeepers in the world, Alisson, playing ahead of him and it is difficult.

Ideally, you'd want Caoimhín to go and play regular games because he's probably potentially one of the best goalkeepers that we've had, and yet we won't know that unless he continually plays games, so that's interesting."

Ireland are currently at a training camp in Girona, Spain ahead of friendlies against Andorra and Hungary, with Conor Hourihane and Ryan Manning due to join them after Swansea's Sky Bet Championship play-off final loss to Brentford on Saturday.

Swansea City's Conor Hourihane and Brentford's Mathias Jensen battle for the ball. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Swansea City's Conor Hourihane and Brentford's Mathias Jensen battle for the ball. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Kenny said: "When I rang Conor Hourihane, he said to me, 'We are playing the play-off on Saturday, Stephen. Once we play, I will be out on the first flight'.

"It wasn't any, 'I've had a hard season, I probably need to rest and put my feet up'. It was, 'I missed the last window through injury, I was devastated to miss it. I am on the next flight, once the match is over, I just want to get over there quickly'."

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more