Dermot Keely: I feel so lucky to have got what I got

2018-03-06 18:40:53

Dermot Keely is one of the most decorated players in the League of Ireland. Five league titles, the same number of FAI Cups and numerous clubs managed bear testament to a stalwart of the domestic game.

We’re already a few weeks into the new season and Keely’s passion is as strong as ever, even though he now observes events from afar.

A new chapter in his life sees him, along with his partner Jane, run ‘Keely’s Bar’ in Lanzarote.

"I always thought I'd retire in the sun but I never thought I'd be running a bar," the Dubliner revealed to Soccer Republic Extra, as he looked back on his playing days.

"My partner Jane was in hotel management so we decided to get this venture off the ground. Now, I’m talking rubbish to people from the other side of the bar."

Somewhat surprisingly, Keely also revealed that he never kept any of his winners medals.

"Maybe, there’s a mad mentality there but I gave all my medals away," he said.

"Why would I want somebody else's jersey? I have my own. I feel so lucky as someone with limited ability to get what I got.

"That's enough for me. I don't need something in my hand."

When asked to pick out highlights from his career, Keely referenced Dundalk’s European Cup clash with Celtic in 1979, where over the two legs the Irish side acquitted themselves with distinction when exiting the competition 3-2 on aggregate.

"That night in Parkhead against Celtic was the standout moment – a night when 50,000 people stayed behind after the game to applaud us after Celtic had gone off the pitch," he recalled.

With Shamrock Rovers, the former defender won four league titles on the trot.

On that achievement, he added: "Which win means the most? The first one or the second one?

"Look, they all merge together. It was just a privilege to be part of one of the best teams to have graced the league."

"I remember frightening Jackie and told him that if he didn't move out left or right he wouldn't finish the game"

Reflecting further on his career, Keely had no hesitation in picking out the best players he played with. "Pat Byrne (Shamrock Rovers) and Tommy McConville (Dundalk) both were unbelievably talented and were far ahead of anyone else," he recalled.

On those that stood out amongst the opposition, Keely wasted no time in saying: "Des Kennedy and Ger Duggan at Limerick. They were so competitive. When you played against them, you either got stitches or you gave six stitches.

"And then there was Jackie Jameson at Bohs. I couldn't mark him because I couldn't get near him. I tried to terrify people, but you needed to get close to someone to terrify them.

"I remember frightening Jackie and told him that if he didn't move out left or right he wouldn't finish the game. He went out and played outside left and got a hat-trick. He was a little genius.

"And then there was Athlone’s John Minnock, who also caused me lots of problems."

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