CAOIMHÍN Kelleher got his first taste of success with Stephen Kenny and the Irish national team on Saturday.
The goalkeeper, who made his competitive debut against Armenia a week earlier, played his part in a 3-0 victory over Scotland in the UEFA Nations League. Ireland’s first in the competition was watched by over 40,000 people at the Aviva Stadium.
Alan Browne scored Ireland’s first and Troy Parrot doubled the lead midway through the first half. A stunning long-distance strike from Michael Obafemi sealed the win for the Boys in Green. Taking everything in after the game, Kelleher made sure to praise Browne, his Ringmahon Rangers clubmate.
“I thought he was brilliant today,” he said, “It was such a tough task, coming up against probably the best left-back in the world [Andy Robertson], he did exceptional, coming into a role that he's not too familiar with, he doesn't play there a lot, he was brilliant.”
The goalkeeper is also happy with his own performance against Scotland on Saturday.
“It's good experience, good to get games for myself but more importantly today we got the win for the squad,” he said.
“It was a great result, the squad deserved it, to be fair, we put in a lot of work over the last two camps, the big one was today and it was very satisfying for all of us.
After losses to Armenia Ukraine, the squad wanted to go out and make a statement.
“It was disappointing but we were all quite motivated for this one,” Kelleher said, “We knew it would be sold out at the Aviva, against Scotland it's such a big game, you try to forget Ukraine as quick as we could and we're just excited and wanted to put in a good performance which we did.
"We deserved a performance like this, we were unlucky against Ukraine, we wanted a strong performance and we got it today,” Kelleher explained.
All that matters now to Kelleher and the Irish team now is getting the three points in their next game, against Ukraine in Poland.
“It's important, if we get another win we're right back in the group,” he said, “So Tuesday is a big game for us and hopefully we can win again. They were very good here, they will be good over there as well, we've watched their games and we have seen how their squad, team, play, we will be more than ready for them.”