Liam Kearney Interview Dylan O’Connell

From the Munster Senior League to the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, Liam Kearney’s coaching career has brought him right through the European footballing pyramid.

The 37-year-old UEFA A LICENSE holder, who played for Cork City, Shelbourne, Derry City, Waterford, and Dandenong Thunder SC in Australia, began coaching with Fermoy FC in the First Division of the Munster League.

In 2016 he made the move to the UNITED STATES to coach for Premier UK Soccer in the North Carolina Area.

Kearney returned home in 2017 to sign for Cork City as a First Team Coach and as Head Coach for the club’s U17 team. That year, Kearney was instrumental in City’s league and cup ‘double’ winning season.

He stayed at the club for two more seasons, helping them to the 2018 FAI Cup final and through both CHAMPIONS LEAGUE and EUROPA LEAGUE qualifying campaigns, before departing in December 2019.

Liam: “In my last few years of playing I did a few coaching jobs around Cork,” Kearney told Pro-Scout 3, “I was involved with the Fermoy senior team and Riverstown at underage level. I had done my FAI Youth Cert and my UEFA B LICENSE when I was still playing so I knew I wanted to go into coaching.”

Liam: “Going over to America to COACH was a fantastic learning experience. It allowed me to focus on what COACH I wanted to be, learn what techniques worked, and how to approach and deal with players individually.”

Liam: “In the States I was coming up with different ideas and implementing them with players. The biggest thing I learned was how to pass on information to young players. Some players pick up information very quickly, others can be very slow. I learned how to give step by step instructions to the players so they fully understood what we were doing and how to do it.”

Liam: “For myself, I wanted to earn my stripes and to develop myself as a COACH before I went into the higher levels of COACHING.”

Liam: “You can’t take it for granted that because a player played the game at a high level they are going to be good at communicating information to players. People need to go out and build their coaching CV up and get to know who they are as a coach.”

Liam: “Working with City’s academy was a huge learning experience for me as a coach as there is a lot of work involved. There are training sessions Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and a game at the weekends. It was almost full-time training. For myself, I really enjoyed it as it allowed me to develop as a COACH.”

Liam: “It taught me how to deal with individuals. It thought me how to break disappointing news to players, how to deal with players going through a bad patch, and how to keep players grounded.”

Liam: “At City, I was lucky to work some fantastic COACHES around me. I had Brendan O’Sullivan and Cathal Lordan alongside of me and Alan Belamajoub as my goalkeeping COACH. Paul O’Donovan was also onboard for video analysis. They were fantastic COACHES who I learned a lot from. Even getting a chance to work with Colin Healy, who was Director of the Academy, was fantastic. He is an amazing guy with a great brain for football.”

Liam: “Getting to work and learn from John Caulfield and John Cotter with the senior team was fantastic. With Caulfield, I have never met a man as hardworking as him. He would be the first one in at half seven in the morning, he’d go for a run, and then back to work. I learned from him every day just by watching how hard he worked. There was never a day off with him. I want to emulate that intensity.”

During his playing career, Kearney was coached by some of the most successful managers in Irish football including Brian Kerr, Damien Richardson, Pat Dolan, and Pat Fenlon. All of these names, he says have helped shape him as a coach.

Liam: “I’m very lucky to have worked under the coaches that I have. Even when I was in England, I was coached by Paul Hart who was known for winning LEEDS UNITED the FA Youth Cup in 1993 and 1997. Every coach I have worked under has taught me different ways to do things and I want to use these in my own COACHING career.”

Liam: “There are different footballing styles I like. I really enjoying the exciting and open football that Stephen Kenny had Dundalk playing over the last few years. That is the way I would want the game played. I also like the way John Caulfield had Cork City playing and the winning formula he created through a direct style of football.”