“The Kingdom” interview with Brendan

Nottingham Delight by Cian Tobin

With a League Two winner’s medal with Notts County already secured, Beaufort’s Brendan Moloney could become the first Kerry-born soccer star to play with a Premier League club if Nottingham Forest triumph in the Championship play-offs. CIAN TOBIN caught up with Moloney to talk about his Nottingham adventure to date.

BRENDAN Moloney has created soccer history by becoming the first Kerryborn player to win a League Two winner’s medal after Notts County were crowned champions of the English division. And it could become a lot better for the Beaufort soccer star as his club, Nottingham Forest, are just three games away from a possible place in the English Premier League.

If Forest can negotiate their way through the play-offs and reach the Promised Land, then Moloney will be the first Kerry-born soccer star to play with a Premiership club.

So even though he has been frustrated on the sidelines, nursing a medial ligament injury that he picked up while on loan with Scunthorpe earlier this year, this season has the potential to be the talented 21-year-old’s best yet.

But while he can only watch on as his Forest club-mates strive to follow Newcastle United and West Bromich Albion in winning promotion, Moloney can celebrate picking up a winner’s medal with Notts County, where he was on loan for the first half of this season.

The former Killarney Athletic and Belvedere Boys defender played 18 games with Notts County where he starred at right back for the club.

Although now back at Nottingham Forest, Moloney reflects fondly on his time with his club’s cross-town rivals.

"Notts County won the league after beating Darlington 5-0 so they are League Two champions. It’s fantastic for me. I will get a League Two medal as I have played more than 10 games for the club," Moloney told The Kingdom.

"Some players go through their whole career without picking up a medal so it’s brilliant for me to get one so early in my career."

Notts County, the oldest existing professional football league club in the world, has been in the spotlight a lot this season. With high-profile additions such as Sven Goran Erikson and current Arsenal centre half Sol Campbell – both of whom have left the club – gracing the Magpies, it’s no surprise.

To have such big names around a lower league club is obviously unusual and the impact of both men was hugely varying, according to the Beaufort defender.

"Sven arrived just a few weeks after I joined county myself," the Republic of Ireland under-21 defender said.

"To tell you the truth, I found out through Sky Sports news that he was to become part of Notts County Football Club. He was a huge part of the achievement at Notts County as he came to watch every training and game, whether it was home or away.

"He was a great boost for the team and was pivotal to the success." But while Moloney admitted that Erikson was a huge hit at County, Sol Campbell – who arrived in a fanfare but then left prematurely – did not enjoy a successful spell at Meadow Lane.

"As regards Sol, I only played the one game with him but he was training with us for two or three weeks before that. It didn’t really work out for Sol. You could tell that he was used to much bigger clubs all his career and he struggled to settle with Notts County," Moloney pointed out.

While Moloney’s attention was mainly on Notts County this season, his contracted club, Nottingham Forest, have been making very steady progress in the Championship.

With Forest sitting in third place in the table, they are guaranteed to be involved in the play-offs which leaves them only 270 minutes away from playing top-tier Premier League football next season.

Should Forest enjoy the rub of the green in the high drama play-offs and triumph at Wembley, Moloney will be the first Kerry-born player to play in the Premier League, which is a remarkable achievement.

While Moloney remained modest, playing down what would be a unique personal moment in his career, he was quick to acknowledge the performances of his team-mates at the City Ground.

"The lads have had a fantastic season so far. They are third in the Championship and are flying at the moment, to be honest," he said.

"In the play-offs anything can happen. The best way to go up is through the play-offs, players often say. High pressure scenarios will benefit the team involved when they hit the big time in the Premier League and the whole Wembley occasion is a great experience.

"Hopefully things will go our way. If they do, we could be a Premiership club next season which is remarkable."

Moloney is now back at Nottingham Forest, nursing a cruel injury picked up at his short spell on loan with Scunthorpe in January.

The talented full back damaged his medial ligament in a Championship clash in mid-January.

It is a frustrating time to be injured with everything going on at this business time of the season and the young Beaufort man is the first to acknowledge that fact.

"I snapped the medial ligament in the inside of my knee. I have been out for 12 weeks now, which is very frustrating," Moloney said.

"It’s obviously tough to get injured at any time but to get hurt on the run-in to the campaign when it’s the really intense part of the season is especially hard. That’s life though, I suppose."

So with club success already heaping itself on the former Killarney Athletic underage star, what’s in store for Moloney at international level?

"I’m still eligible for Ireland’s under21s but there are only two or three games left in the championship which we cannot qualify in," he explained.

"This might lead to the management blooding some young players next year but you’d never know. I missed a couple of game with my injury so that was also disappointing."

While Moloney may be exiting the under-21 grade, there are high hopes by all in Kerry soccer that he will become the first Kerry-born player to represent the Republic of Ireland at senior level.

His performances at under-21 level for Ireland have added claims to that support.

However, for the moment Moloney will continue his comeback from the knee injury and he is also looking forward to a summer at home in his native Killarney.

Moloney is excited by the thought of the summer break which gives him a deserved chance to relax with friends and family after a hectic year in professional football.

"I’m delighted to be going home and meeting up with everybody," Moloney said.

"I’ll enjoy my summer when I come back. Then I’ll knuckle down for preseason with my injury behind me and see where that takes me."

It was a year that saw Moloney win a prestigious League Two medal and if all things go according to plan at the City Ground, it’s also a season that could see him promoted to the Premiership.

It’s certainly been a year to remember for one of Kerry’s brightest and best soccer stars.

Getting to know Moloney

* Brendan Moloney has played with five different professional clubs – Nottingham Forest, Chesterfield (loan), Rushden and Diamonds, (loan), Notts County (loan) and Scunthorpe (loan).

* The Beaufort man has played six times for the Republic of Ireland under-21s.

* In a successful youth career, Moloney played with both Killarney Athletic and Belvedere Boys.

* Moloney netted his first professional goal for Chesterfield in a 4-0 win over Hereford Town.

* The Kerry man captained the Nottingham Forest youth team that just missed out on the title in 2006/07.

* He made his senior debut for Nottingham Forest in March 2007, coming on as a substitute against Gillingham.

* Moloney became the first Kerry player to win a National Cup when he lined out for Belvedere Boys in their 3-0 final win in 2005.

* The Forest club-man picked up the man-of-the-match award in the 2005 National Cup final as Belvedere recorded a clean sheet with Moloney at the heart of their defence.

* He was part of the Kerry Kennedy Cup squad that defeated DDSL and finished second in the tournament in 2002. This was Kerry’s highest ever finish.

* Moloney is the first Kerry-born player to win an English football League Two medal.

From source: http://www.the-kingdom.ie/news/story/?trs=mhmhkfsnkf ("The Kingdom", by Cian Tobin, current club player)


This entry was posted on Saturday, May 8th, 2010 at 1:21 pm and is filed under Club Notes.