Profile – Paul Keaveney

paulkeaveneyA profile of Paul from 1993. A name synonymous with football in Fermanagh & Western circles is that of Paul Keaveney or “Wee Paul” as he is affectionately known. For him it has been football 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year – for more years than he cares to remember.

“Wee Paul” has had a long and successful playing career in junior football. He began with the now defunct Enniskillen Corinthians where he was an important member of their ‘treble’ winning side of 1970/71. He joined Enniskillen Town United – “Town” – on Corinthians’ demise and enjoyed brief spells with Enniskillen Rangers in their abortive Intermediate League sojourn and with Roadhouse in their promotion years of 1976 and 1977 before returning to his first love – “Town”.

Coaching was a natural progression for “Wee Paul” and his capabilities in that field are well known. Although his affinity is with “Town” he took time out to assist Irvinestown Wanderers to a Mercer league and Mulhern Cup double in season 1986/87. In addition he has coached the local League’s representative team and the Fermanagh & Western F.A’s Under 16 side. However he gained most satisfaction and perhaps achieved his greatest triumph when “Town” won the Mulhern Cup for the first time in 1990.

For the past eight years, he has been largely responsible along with the indefatigable John Illand and Gerard Connolly for “Town’s” domination of underage competitions. During that time “Town” have won the Brendan McCaffrey Cup (Under-16) thrice, the Enda Love trophy (Under-12) and the Belfast Telegraph Shield (Under-14) four times each and the Lowry-Corry Cup (Under 18) on six occasions. In addition runners-up positions have been achieved with monotonous regularity – a phenomenal record indeed.

As is evident “Wee Paul” is at his best when involved with youth and he spends hour after hour grooming young players for the future. Most of the current “Town” players have come up through the ranks and this constant supply of talent will inevitably lead to “Town’s” future domination of local junior football.

“Wee Paul” would underestimate his contribution but others don’t as was evidenced in 1992 when he was presented with the Fermanagh Sports Advisory Committee’s prestigious Services to Sport award and the coveted John Reihill Memorial Cup as Clubman of the Year.

Who was the biggest influence on your career?
Johnny Henderson. He taught me all there is to know about the game and I was privileged to play in the same Corinthians team as him.

Who was your most difficult opponent?
Bertie Seaney of Kesh who gave me more trouble than any other forward I played against.

What was the best match you were ever involved in?
It was a Mulhern Cup semi-final against Killymore Rovers in 1971. Despite being 1-0 down Corinthians came back to win with 2 late goals and remain bang on course for the ‘treble’. The atmosphere in the Broadmeadow that day was something else.

What was your biggest thrill in the game?
Being involved with “Town” when they won the Mulhern Cup in 1990.

What was your biggest disappointment in the game?
“Town” Colts being beaten on penalty kicks by Portadown III in the quarter finals of the Irish Youth Cup last season. I wasn’t right for days afterwards.

Have you ever been booked or sent off?
No, but let’s not tempt face!

What is your favourite ground?
Celtic Park.

Who is your favourite “Town” player of the past?
Phil Nolan.

Which present day players do you most admire?
Jim McClintock, Brendan Lyons and Gary Beckett.

What was the best goal you ever seen scored?
Jim McClintock’s first half goal from a free-kick against Enniskillen Rangers at the end of the season before last. No goalkeeper would have saved it?

What other sports do you enjoy?
Gaelic Football and baseball.

What are your hopes for next season?
For “Town” to win the Mercer League and for “Town” Colts to win the Irish Youth Cup.

What are your long term ambitions?
For “Town” to consolidate their position as the top Club locally and to step up to a higher grade of football.

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