Shane Keegan Interview by Dylan O’Connell

There are very few people who have climbed the Irish football pyramid quite like Shane Keegan. The 38-year-old from Port Laoise, began his career with FC Carlow in the Kilkenny and District League and rose through the ranks of IRISH FOOTBALL, managing Wexford Youths and Galway United, before stepping into his current role as OPPOSITION ANALYST for LEAGUE OF IRELAND champions Dundalk.

The UEFA PRO-LICENSE holder, who led Wexford to the 2015 First Division title, is also an active member of the media, presenting the coaching podcast ‘How to Win At How to Win At Dominos’ on leading sports website The 42.

Keegan spoke to PRO-SCOUT 3 on his role at Dundalk, his pathway into coaching, and his role in the upcoming CHAMPIONS LEAGUE qualifiers.

Keegan: “My working week starts on Friday night when I travel across the country to see the team Dundalk are playing the following week,” Keegan said.

Keegan: “On match-day I have to gather as much information on the team as I can across the ninety minutes. During the game, I will have a set list of questions to answer on the team. Some of them are very general and the others are very specific to what Vinny Perth wants to know.”

Keegan: “By Saturday evening, I will have rewatched the game. This will allow me go into greater detail on the team by seeing what they do with the ball, how they use it, and how they work set pieces.”

Keegan: “By Sunday evening I present by findings to the Dundalk management team. This helps them plan for their training sessions on Monday and Tuesday. Later in the week I present the findings to the players ahead of the final training session on the Thursday, which will be used as a dress rehearsal for the game.”

Keegan points out that, for someone who has never played in the League of Ireland, it has never held him back as a coach.

Keegan: “Some people would say it is a disadvantage having never played in the League of Ireland. It actually allowed me to really focus and study to become a better coach.”

Keegan: “I stated my badges when I was twenty years old. I did my B LICENSE through the FAI and was really eager to kick on. I did not want to wait too long between courses so I did my B LICENSE with the IFA in Belfast.”

Keegan: “I really enjoyed my time in Northern Ireland. I studied with a lot of very successful players from the United Kingdom such as CELTIC legend JACKIE MCNAMARA and BOURNEMOUTH manager EDDIE HOWE. They were great guys to work with and to take ideas from.”

Keegan: “For myself as a coach, I’m not as married to a philosophy others would be. I prefer to see what the players in front of me and to see what they can do instead of shoving them into a specific style.”

Keegan: “I’m a big fan of CARLO ANCELOTTI. He comes into a club, looks at what he has, and then creates a system with that.”

His next challenge will be the 2020 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE qualifiers with Dundalk. The Lilywhites, who are chasing group stage EUROPEAN FOOTBALL, will have to go through four qualifying rounds if they are to realise this dream.

Keegan: “I’m really looking forward to the qualifiers,” Keegan said, “This will be my first experience of EUROPEAN FOOTBALL. From a learning perspective, getting to fly out across Europe and study a European team with their style of football, is going to be very exciting.”

Keegan: “I had small taste of this last winter when I went with Dundalk to Spain for a series of preseason friendlies. There I was doing an analysis of players I had never heard of which is a totally different to working in Ireland. Here, you know the players, you would have seen them play for years, but in Europe there is a huge unknown factor. It is going to be a huge challenge but I am very excited for it.”

Keegan also offered advice to anyone looking to become an OPPOSITION ANALYST or PERFORMANCE ANALYST in football.

Keegan: “Educate yourself and do as many courses as you can. I would recommend the Masters in Science in Sports Performance Analysis from IT Carlow. It is possibly the best course out there. There are lower level courses run.”

Keegan: “I would advise anyone interested to turn up at a game, do an analysis in as much detail as you can, and send it onto the manager playing them next week. It happened to me at Wexford, someone sent in a very detailed report into COBH RAMBLERS, and we build a relationship from that.”