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Caoimhin Kelleher to fall short in Ireland No. 1 race despite his “art form”

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny is not short on goalkeeping options and yet despite his success in the League Cup, Caoimhin Kelleher will not be his first choice between the goalposts.

Liverpool’s No. 2 has added another eight senior appearances to his name so far this season, one of which included lifting his first trophy as the Reds’ starting ‘keeper.

The 23-year-old certainly has the capabilities to be No. 1 elsewhere, including for his national side if not for Man City‘s Gavin Bazunu.

The Ireland boss has readily rotated his ‘keepers but ahead of friendly fixtures against Belgium and Lithuania, he all but confirmed that his first choice is not to be Kelleher, despite making the position look like an “art form.”

“You never underestimate Caoimhin,” Kenny said. “He played for me in the U21 team, he played 10 of the 12 internationals.

DUBLIN, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND - Sunday, October 11, 2020: Republic of Ireland's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher during the pre-match warm-up before the UEFA Nations League Group Stage League B Group 4 match between Republic of Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium. The game ended in a 0-0 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“He was the one who played most for me. He’s laconic, makes goalkeeping nearly an art form. It’s beautiful to watch him, aesthetically amazing to watch.

“I don’t think I’ve ever said that about a goalkeeper, brilliant to watch, such style and composure under pressure. It’s just a great position to be in. I don’t consider those problems. They are good problems.

“We have three keepers. Mark Travers, he has had the best season. Probably because Gavin is playing in League One, you wouldn’t consider that he’s had the best season.

“Mark arguably has had in terms of whether you measure Caoimhin winning the trophy.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 27, 2022: Liverpool's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher celebrates as Chelsea's goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga misses his side's eleventh and last penalty kick of the shoot out during the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 11-10 on penalties after a goal-less draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Kelleher currently has two caps for his country and has been a regular member of the squad since 2020, but has readily seen Bazunu, on loan at Portsmouth, handed the minutes.

Kenny has previously cited that fact that “it’s just that he’s not playing” for Kelleher, with Alisson a figure not to be usurped – which will not change any time soon.

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