After a difficult last campaign with Macclesfield Town, things are now looking up for Fiacre Kelleher. The club are within touching distance of the National League playoffs and a takeover by two Hollywood actors is imminent.
I talked with Fiacre about how he is finding life in North Wales and his career so far.
Firstly, congratulations on your first goal for Wrexham on Saturday. How did that feel?
It was a long time coming to be fair. I’ve had a lot of opportunities over the last few months to get on the scoresheet. Now I’ve got that first goal, hopefully it’ll lead to a few more.
How’ve you settled in at the club?
It’s been easy enough, I knew five or six of the players and I have played with them over the last few years for different clubs. That made it a lot easier for me to feel more comfortable. I’ve been here five or six months now and I get along really well with everyone.
Who has helped you in particular?
I’d say Elliott Durrell and Theo Vassell. I played with them both last year at Macclesfield. It makes it a lot easier when you’ve got good mates here.
Saturday’s victory against Dover moves Wrexham up to 8th in the National League. What are your goals for the rest of the season?
I want the club to get promoted and the club wants that, whether that’s automatic or through the play-offs. We’ll be fighting for automatic but if not, we want to take one of the play-off spots. The main aim is to get the club back to where it belongs and the fans really want the club back in league football.
What’s it like playing at the Racecourse ground without a crowd?
I suppose it’s a change in mentality. At Macclesfield last year our aim was to avoid relegation and keep the club in League 2. Now I’m trying to help this club get promoted. We want to win every week, we’re not playing for draws against any of the big teams. We’ve got big games coming up and usually two games each week.
Personally, I don’t think playing without a crowd affects me but the crowd can give the players a bit of extra energy when they need it, especially if you’re chasing a game. Or if you’re holding on to a lead, they’ll get right behind you. From that perspective they give you a little bit of a lift. I’ve got used to there being no crowd, it’s been five or six months now. It becomes kind of normal which is the sad thing about it.
How are you finding lockdown? Have you learnt any new skills?
No, not really, but I’ve done a lot of reading to be fair. I’ve made my way through six or seven books. My girlfriend has moved in with me so that’s been really nice. We’ve been watching Netflix and going on a few walks.
I’ve found myself binging shows on Netflix, how about you?
We’ve just started watching The Queen’s Gambit. I’ve quite enjoyed it, it’s a good story and makes me want to take up chess! I can’t imagine I’d be very good though.
What music is played in the Wrexham dressing room?
Usually our sub goalkeeper Christian Dibble sorts that. It’s normally house music, something with a bit of a beat. I don’t mind that to be honest. It’s not my favourite type of music, but mine probably wouldn’t be theirs! I just let them play whatever they want.
Wrexham made national news with the imminent takeover by Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny. How excited are you by this?
I had no clue about this when I signed in August, so it’s been a welcome surprise. Coming from Macclesfield last year where we were struggling financially, this is a really nice situation to be in. They’re coming in with a lot of money so I won’t have to worry about my wages being paid on time.
From the club’s point of view, it’ll give them hope that they can get back into the Football League pretty soon with this takeover. We’ll be fighting for it this year but I’m sure it’s coming really soon with their backing.
How did the move across from Cork to Celtic come about at such a young age? How did you find it?
I was playing for Ireland U15s against Belgium and there was a scout there from Celtic. I got invited over for a trial and after going over two or three times, they offered me a contract.
The first few months were good but then I remember coming back to Cork for a week and on my way back to Glasgow, I really didn’t want to go back. It was harder then, without things like FaceTime but there were flights every day from Cork to Glasgow so my parents could come over regularly so I was very lucky in that sense.
Before the restrictions, how often did you manage to get back to Cork?
I used to go back quite a lot; really anytime I had days off. If the manager gave us Sunday, Monday off then I’d be able to catch a flight Saturday evening after the game and come back Tuesday morning. I would normally do that quite a lot before COVID. That’s something which I miss but I’ve got my girlfriend here now, so that makes things a lot easier.
Your brother Caoimhín has had some good performances for Liverpool this season. You must be really proud?
I’m incredibly proud, he’s been amazing. He’s been through a lot already and he’s took his chances. He’s young but I’m proud of him for taking his chances when he’s had the opportunity. Liverpool have a big game coming up in the FA Cup this weekend so hopefully he’s in with a chance of starting. I’m glad to see him doing so well.
Have you had chance to attend each other’s games? (pre-COVID)
Yeah definitely, but it was mainly me going to see his games. Days off can be hard to come by for him so it was easier for me to go and watch him. Even if he wasn’t playing it was nice to go over to Anfield, I kind of miss that now.
Q. Aside from football, what other hobbies do you have?
I follow all sports. I love watching golf when it’s on and I enjoy watching Cork in the hurling. I also like watching Ireland in the Six Nations. To be honest, I’d watch any sport if it was on, I’d find enjoyment in it.
From my conversation with Fiacre, he is a focused, friendly and down to earth individual who will be an integral part of Wrexham’s promotion push and future ambitions.