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Football Reporting


Even Liverpool struggle with Caoimhin Kelleher’s name here’s how to get it right

After making his first appearances in both the Champions League and the Premier League in the past week, more football fans are becoming familiar with the name Caoimhin Kelleher.

The Irish goalkeeper was brought in last week for Alisson as the Brazilian continues to recover from a hamstring strain, and he impressed in the 1-0 win over Ajax which ensured Liverpool qualified out of their group in Europe.

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Kelleher was again called upon to stand in between the sticks at Anfield on Sunday. Having usurped fellow reserve ‘keeper Adrian in the pecking order, Kelleher started against Wolves and impressed once more as his side cantered to a 4-0 victory.

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The Republic of Ireland under-21 international’s first name is one that many are still getting to grips with, but unfortunately even his surname was too much for the one person tasked with spelling his name correctly on the back of his jersey for the first half of the game on Sunday.

Although it might not avert any future kit mishaps, here is some guidance on how to say the name of Liverpool’s new goalkeeping hero.

Pronouncing “Caoimhín” isn’t as difficult as you’d imagine. The name translates as the Irish version of “Kevin” and is said to indicate a person of noble and kind character.

Depending on what part of Ireland you come from, you may choose to pronounce it different with various regions having their own dialect. Kelleher hails from Cork, where Munster Irish is used, and therefore the correct pronunciation is “Qwe-veen.”

The kit faux-pas notwithstanding, the surname “Kelleher” should be less of a challenge, phonetically speaking, as it is pronounced “Kell-le-her.”

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The name is an Anglicised version of “Ó Céileachair” (the spelling of which can vary across Ireland). In Irish, “Ó” preceding a name typically means “from the family of.”

Still, young “Kellher” is in good company when it comes to misspelt monikers, with some of the biggest names in the game suffering the same fate over the years.

Who can forget when some guy by the name of Zlatan “Irbahimovic” turned out for LA Galaxy?

The Galaxy have form in this area, going back to the time Steven “Gerrrad” took to the pitch for them in 2012.

Many an eyebrow was raised when an unknown midfielder by the name of “Jorghino” made his debut for Chelsea in 2019.

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There was confusion as an impostor by the name of David “Beckam” turned out for Manchester United in the 1997 Charity Shield against Chelsea.

Poor old Tomasz Kuszczak became Tomasz “Zuszczak” was also made to suffer at the hands of United’s muddled kit staff.

Regardless, Kelleher was unperturbed by the spelling error across his shoulders and went on to notch up his second shutout in the space of just five days.

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“That’s what I’m there for!” Kelleher said when asked about his saves after the Wolves match. “I’m just trying to be there for the team to help them out in those moments and thankfully again I was able to make those saves and get the clean sheet.

“To get the clean sheet, for me and the back four, is the most important thing for us. We’ve done our job then.”

Kelleher made his first-team bow for the Reds in last season’s EFL Cup, though things didn’t exactly get off to a rosy start as he conceded 10 goals in two consecutive rounds — the 5-5 draw against Arsenal in the fourth round, which Liverpool’s young side won on penalties, and the 5-0 defeat against Aston Villa in the quarterfinals. He also played in the 1-0 FA Cup fourth-round replay win over Shrewsbury while the Reds’ senior players enjoyed the inaugural Premier League winter break.

Things might have been very different for Kelleher too, who, back in 2015, managed to bag himself a trial with Manchester United. However, The Athletic reports that Queens Park Rangers defender Conor Masterson, then a member of Liverpool’s academy side, persuaded the Reds’ coaching staff to have a look at his Republic of Ireland youth international teammate, who was playing for Ringmahon Rangers in Cork at the time.

Kelleher subsequently impressed the coaches, and Liverpool signed him up — hopefully with the correct names on the contract.

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