Meet the coaches: Michael Keenan

Photo: Michael lining up for the Northern Ireland Over 40’s team recently alongside Newry Manager Darren Mullen & Assistant Manager Raymond Byrne. Photo courtesy of Brendan Monaghan


Name: Michael Keenan

Age: 59

What is your role at Newry? Originally I joined to help “Goose” (Robert Robinson) with a bit of goalkeeping training, which led to me helping out Gerry Flynn and Minto (Peter Murray) with the first team. This gradually became officially known as being the “goalkeeper coach”.

When the old club folded I was keen to ensure it was reformed, which resulted in taking some role on the Management Committee. Having previous experience in Child Protection it was natural for me to take on the role of Child Protection Officer for the club also. Then after the loss of Tommy O’Hanlon the club needed a treasurer and that also fell into my lap somehow!

What are your ambitions for the club? Obviously the main ambition is to progress through the leagues and hopefully get back into the Premiership. Championship must be a minimum. However it is probably more important to develop the club more as a community club with strong under age teams, ladies football and special Olympic teams making it a club for everyone in the area, not just a “first team”.

The Showgrounds is also too good a resource to let go to waste. It would be my ambition to help develop this into a major venue that could be a resource for football throughout the region and enable top-level fixtures to be hosted locally.

How did you get into coaching? By accident really. Started through following my son Rory in the under-age leagues. Most teams don’t have anyone to work with goalkeepers so it was good to help out and to be able to work with him. Once I stopped playing, coaching was then a great way to keep involved in the game.

Who is the most exciting talent in your team? If you consider my team to be the goalkeepers then Paul Hadden is showing great promise – if he grows tall enough he could go a long way in the game.

Who has been the biggest influence on your coaching style? Biggest influence on coaching and football in general was John Fearon who coached/trained me from the age of 11 at the Bosco Youth Club. I’ve seen Manchester United school of excellence coaches recently do what he was doing 50 years ago! Great man and great coach – many footballers in Newry owe him a lot.

Who was the best player you ever coached or managed? Among goalkeepers it would be Andy Coleman – unbelievable shot stopper, great trainer, great attitude and worked very hard to get into the team.

If you could give any young player advice what would it be? Enjoy the game first and then if you work hard at it you might go far.

If you could organise a friendly for your team against any other team in the world who would it be? Barcelona – Messi v Ian Curran would be some contest!

Other than Newry what team do you support? Tottenham Hotspur – since 1967 when we beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA cup final.

Do you have any nicknames? Not really but I’m usually known as Mickey. Reference to “curly hair” comes from the supporters occasionally.

Who is your footballing hero? Hard to go past big Pat Jennings.

Favourite drink? Red wine – Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Though I would not say no to a good pint of Guinness.

Favourite food? Indian – the spicier the better

Favourite Film: The Sting

Favourite band: Pink Floyd, just ahead of Rory Gallagher.

What are your interests outside football? Wife, kids and grandchildren.

If you had a super power what would it be? Lucky to have good health and can still play a bit – that’s a good enough super power for me.


  1. Being new to the club and taking on a role of management I was certainly looking for help from senior members within the club, one man that quickly offered help and advice was Mickey, he also took a few youth players under his wing for goalkeeping coaching which is a rare thing in youth development. Fair play Mickey and keep up the good work.

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