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Dublin: 13°C Wednesday 21 October 2020

Speechless Kelleher soaks in 'the best feeling I've ever had'

The 20-year-old Liverpool goalkeeper is the 12th Irishman in history to win the European Cup.

CAOIMHIN KELLEHER, MEET Charlie Gallagher, Shay Brennan, Tony Dunne, Steve Heighway, Ronnie Whelan, Mark Lawrenson, Michael Robinson, Denis Irwin, Roy Keane, Steve Finnan and John O’Shea. 

The 20-year-old Liverpool goalkeeper last night became the 12th Irishman to win the European Cup, and the first to get on with winning the biggest prize in club football before winning a senior international cup. 

Uefa rules allow clubs to list all of their 23 matchday squad members as substitutes, and so Kelleher was among Liverpool’s for the Champions League final in Madrid last night. 

Mo Salah’s second-minute penalty and Divock Origi’s late goal handed Liverpool victory over Tottenham and Kelleher his unique piece of history. 

“I can’t describe it, to be honest”, Kelleher told RTÉ after the game. “It’s an unbelievable feeling, I’m speechless.

“This team has worked so hard all year, they have produced some amazing performances and this is the least they deserve.” 

Watching on from the bench, the Cork native was consumed by nerves. 

“It was nerve-wracking, it would probably be easier playing because you’re not as nervous.

“We did well throughout the game, defended well and then Div [Origi] came up with a great finish. 

“It was unbelievable. It’s once in a lifetime. I’ve never experienced that. It’s probably the best feeling I’ve ever had.

“I’ve got a lot of messages of support so thanks for that, especially to my family and my girlfriend who have been there for me the whole time. Without them, I wouldn’t be here. It’s all down to them really.”

Kelleher won’t be picking up his maiden senior cap over the next couple of weeks – he will instead be involved with Stephen Kenny’s U21 squad at the prestigious Toulon tournament.

Ireland’s first game is tomorrow against China, kicking off at 2.30pm.

“Let’s celebrate tonight first”, was Kelleher’s reply to RTÉ when those commitments were brought up. 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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