This week ex-professional footballer Brendan Moloney speaks to Adam Moynihan about his career in England, his toughest opponents, and coaching back home in Kerry.
Hi Brendan. Thanks for speaking to me.
No bother, Adam.
How are you coping with the lockdown?
It’s very frustrating, to be honest with you. But it’s affecting everyone and we have to be respectful of what’s going on. Hopefully if we live by the rules it won’t be too long before we come out the other side of it.
You’re currently coaching the Kerry U17s and the Killarney Athletic seniors. Are you enjoying it?
Yeah, I love it. I had no interest in coaching at the start of my career but that changed as I got older. When the injuries started coming, that kind of made the decision for me.
What is it about coaching that appeals to you?
I like putting a plan in place, working on it, and then seeing it come together on a matchday. When you work on something and then see it happen, you get a thrill. And I think you get a bug for it.
What’s your long-term goal in terms of coaching?
Long-term, I’d love to give it a go cross-channel, but obviously it’s not as easy as that. You need to prepare and learn as much as you can. Opportunities don’t knock too often. When you do get the chance, you have to be ready to take it.
How would you rate the standard in Kerry at the moment, both underage and senior? Are there players who have what it takes to go pro?
This is my first year with the Kerry U17s and there are some very good players. With regards to making it, it’s hard to tell. It takes a huge amount of dedication and discipline. You never know, hopefully in the next few years we’ll start to see players coming out of Kerry and going on to a professional set-up. They’re getting good coaching from a young age and they have great facilities in Tralee.
At senior level, Celtic are way out in front. Ourselves, Castleisland and Listowel would be next and then there’s a big drop to the other teams. Last season the boys did so well to get to three finals, and that was down to their commitment.
Celtic have had a core group for a number of years and they have added very good players from around the county, so realistically they expect to win everything domestically. Hopefully next season, if the commitment is there again from our lads, the gap won’t be as big as people think. And maybe there will be a league or a cup there for us in the next few years.
What’s your happiest memory from your playing days?
Definitely winning the League Two title with Northampton in 2015/16. We had a good group of lads, the banter was great, everyone got on, and we won the league handy enough. It was just one of those years when we went into games knowing we were going to win.
You played under some very high-profile managers. Who was your favourite?
Chris Wilder at Northampton. He was a brilliant manager. I can see why he has had so much success with his hometown club, Sheffield United. He used to get the best out of everyone, but he had that harsh streak about him as well. He had everyone’s respect and you just wanted to go out and do well for him.
Who was the best player you ever played with?
Wes Morgan. I played alongside him at Forest and he would just make you look good. An unbelievable defender. You just knew he was never going to have a bad game.
Toughest opponent? I seem to recall a duel with Zlatan at one stage…
Yeah, I was lucky enough to play against Man United in the League Cup that time with Northampton, so I could pick any of those players. They put out a strong team and Rooney and guys like that were playing. They were just on a completely different level. It was an unbelievable experience.
Back in my Forest days, Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer (Swansea) were so direct and tricky. Very tough to play against.
Any embarrassing moments? Did you have to do initiations at any of your clubs?
Yeah, I used to hate doing them. It’s at every club you go to. Normally it was on the first away trip. You’d be down for dinner at six/half six and next thing you’d hear the glasses being tapped. It was awful. I used to even hate watching other people doing it!
What was your go-to song?
Ah, anything! I’d lash out Stand By Me or Wonderwall, anything you could get away with for 30 seconds. You’d try and pick a song that the boys would clap along to! They were just always terrible.
Who’s the most famous person in your contacts?
One name I saw there, and he is absolutely flying at the moment, is Dominic Calvert-Lewin. He was on loan with us for six months at Northampton. I haven’t spoken to him since, and he probably doesn’t even have the same number!
Favourite restaurant for takeaway/delivery?
Favourite spot for a pint?
Kate Kearney’s as well. Or if I go into Killarney, The Laurels.
And last one… Which of your Killarney Athletic or Beaufort clubmates would you least like to get stuck in an elevator with?
Any of them who are Liverpool fans!