Ireland U21s: A family affair for the Kinsella's

Ireland U21s: A family affair for the Kinsella's

Being selected for international duty can often be a difficult time away from home, your friends and crucially, your family.
3rd Oct 2017

But there's no such problem for Republic of Ireland Under-21 midfielder Liam Kinsella who will be able to draw on the experience of his father, former Republic of Ireland international Mark Kinsella, who is part of the coaching set-up for the team.

Mark, who is also part of the coaching set-up at SSE Airtricity League side Drogheda United, began working with Noel King's side at the end of 2017 European Championships qualifying campaign. 

Current Walsall midfielder Liam has been involved with the squad since the last campaign but claimed his first cap in the recent 3-1 win over Azerbaijan. Mark admits he's delighted to see his son fulfil his ambitions as a footballer and also, get to work alongside his son in camp.

Mark said: "It is a great experience to be with him during camp. He has been in football since he was eight with Walsall and it has always been his drive and ambition to become a footballer so this is a great moment. 

"He has done well to go up the levels where he was involved with the Under-19s as well and now it has led to his call-up to the Under-21s. I'm fortunate enough to be involved with the team as well at an international level which I'm really enjoying.

"Noel rang me up and spoke to me about Liam and then went to watch him. He said he was good enough to be involved with the squad which is absolutely fantastic."

Liam is progressing well with the English League One club and has already made four appearances for the Saddlers this campaign, having made 12 appearances for the club last season. 

With the 21-year old looking to build on his first Under-21 cap against Azerbaijan, Liam doesn't see having his Dad in camp as a distraction and admits he is enjoying every minute with the group.

Liam: "Obviously, I don't look at him as Dad during the camp but it's good to have him around to be able to speak to him during my time here.

"Whenever I ask advice during the camp, I see him as a coach and I'd speak to him like I would any other coach but it's good to have him around.

"I was involved the back-end of the last campaign and I've really enjoyed my time with the squad so far, it's a great experience. It's a tight group here and we all really get on so we're really looking forward to the next two games."

Republic of Ireland sit top of Group Five in their UEFA European Championships qualifying campaign following wins over Kosovo and Azerbaijan. Ireland face a double header at home with Norway set to visit on Thursday, with kick-off at 7.45pm, and Israel on Monday, with kick-off at 3.30pm.

With the double-header coming up, coach Mark has admitted the group are 'a joy to work with' and says he is really enjoying his time working in the international set-up. 

Working in the international set-up is different. It's not like a day-to-day club environment, you only have so much time to work with the players so it comes with it's own challenges," Mark said.

"But they're a really good group and I think that's why we've started really well in the campaign and hopefully we can continue to build on it. There are lads who've got the experience from the last campaign and then there are new lads who've carried it on. They're a joy to coach."