Highlights on Off The Ball

07:00 AM-01:00 PM

Highlights on Off The Ball

Dean Kiely: Managing Ireland's glut of top goalkeepers

Crystal Palace and Republic of Ireland goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely brings a wealth of first-hand...

Dean Kiely: Managing Ireland's...

Dean Kiely: Managing Ireland's glut of top goalkeepers

Crystal Palace and Republic of Ireland goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely brings a wealth of first-hand experience to the position, having made over 750 Premier League appearances.

He has also experienced the disappointment of being left on the bench for Ireland, as his career overlapped with Shay Given earning his 134 caps.


“It can’t just be focused all on the number one goalkeeper that is playing. We’re a unit” he told OTB AM.

Amidst a “duty of care” to the players at his disposal, the 11-cap Ireland international aspires to “provide a framework” to succeed in camp through building relationships and instilling a positive attitude into the environment.

23 March 2021; Republic of Ireland goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely during a Republic of Ireland training session at Stadion Rajko Mitic in Belgrade, Serbia. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

“Whether this be at international or at my club, we train all week and I’ll say to the goalkeepers ‘I don’t pick the goalkeeper, what I do is I polish you guys up, expose you to what’s coming at the weekend and then present you to the manager and say these three are ready to go.

“The manager then picks who he wants to play.' Once that decision is made the other two are in a support mode,” he added.

Irish options

Amid Stephen Kenny's rebuild, goalkeeper has emerged as one area where the squad has an embarrassment of riches as Gavin Bazunu, Caoimhin Kelleher and Mark Travers all battle for the shirt.

“They’re top, elite players and this isn’t just a little flurry of form, they will be around in the international squad for a decade or more” Kiely said.

“I had to adopt a supportive role to Shay. I was happy to do that because once you get over the disappointment of, ‘Oh well the manager hasn’t picked me’, what’s your next job? If you’re the number two or three it’s to support the number one.”

Newcastle Gavin BAZUNU of Ireland during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Preparation match between Republic of Ireland and Qatar at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland on October 12, 2021 (Photo by Andrew SURMA/ SIPA USA).

“You are a loss of form, an injury and a sending off or suspension away from getting into the team, so if that were to happen are you ready to go? Are you in the best shape mentally and physically that you are ready to go? If the answer is yes well done, if the answer is no, you need to liven up.”

He warned that the last thing you want is negativity from those on standby and said he asks his players to ask what they would want from their teammates if they were the ones selected to start.

The coach praised the moral and sense of "healthy competition" in the Irish squad and at Crystal Palace where both goalkeeping units ultimately “all want to win and be successful.”

By Alanna Cunnane

Read more about

Crystal Palace Dean Kiely Goal Goals Ireland Kenny Otb Am Otbam Stephen Kenny