Football

Stephen Kenny Hints That Battle To Become Ireland's Number One Not Over Just Yet

Stephen Kenny Hints That Battle To Become Ireland's Number One Not Over Just Yet

Gary Connaughton reporting from the Aviva Stadium

Gavin Bazunu was absolutely faultless against Serbia last night. He pulled off a number of remarkable saves, keeping Ireland in the game and allowing them to earn a point after a late own goal.

It continues what has been a remarkable rise for the goalkeeper. Still just 19-years old, he only made his international debut in March. Despite this, he plays like someone who has a decade of international experience behind him.

He seems to go from strength to strength with each cap he earns.

Of course, he is not the only talented young Irish goalkeeper coming through at the moment.

Advertisement

Caoimhín Kelleher has won plenty of plaudits of his own for his performances in recent years, both for Liverpool and the Ireland U21 side. He was first choice under Kenny at that level and acted as a key player in the side.

The Cork native has earned only one senior cap to date, coming on as a substitute in the friendly against Qatar earlier this year.

While many would believe that Bazunu has the number one jersey sewn up for years to come, that may not necessarily be the case.

Speaking after last night's draw, Stephen Kenny hinted that the two are still very much in competition for playing time in this team.

I knew [Bazunu] was very good. I knew had sort of special qualities as a man, first and foremost. That struck me, that he had characteristics that were quite special as a human being.

He's a very good goalkeeper. It's a very tight decision because I really rank Caoimhín Kelleher so high. Caoimhín is an exceptional goalkeeper, it's just that he hasn't been playing.

He would have started in March but was injured. Gavin came in in the end and has stayed in on merit, he hasn't put a foot wrong really. It was only the pass in Portugal, but he retrieved and that had the character to save the penalty. It was an outstanding save.

Caomhín is a real talent as well and Mark Travers is doing well at Bournemouth.

We have two games coming up against Azerbaijan and Qatar next month. Caomhín could feature against Qatar.

They are two good prospects and it's good to see them doing well.

It's certainly not a bad problem for Stephen Kenny to have, with these two amongst the most talented goalkeepers coming through at English clubs at the moment.

It is a battle that is likely to go on for years to come.

SEE ALSO: Brian Kerr Definitely Doesn't Think Ireland Turned A Corner Tonight

Brian Kerr

Gary Connaughton

You may also like