herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Liam was a Special guy

Kerr: I would be nowhere without Liam

Liam Tuohy
Liam Tuohy

Six pounds a week: that is what the FAI were paying Liam Tuohy to manage the Republic of Ireland senior team back in the 1970s.

But for Brian Kerr, it's impossible to put a value on the contribution made by Liam Tuohy in a lifetime of working in Irish football, a connection with the Irish game which was only ended with the death, at the age of 83, of the man they called 'Rasher'.

"Liam was a mentor to me and hundreds of other young coaches, we were privileged to spend some time with him," Kerr said on Today FM in tribute to the former Ireland player and manager who has passed away following illness.

"I learned a huge amount from him and I certainly would have got nowhere in the game without that time I had with Liam, the guidance I got from him and the things I learned from him.

"He was a great person who made a massive contribution to Irish football, as a player, a player/manager with Shamrock Rovers in a glorious era in the '60s."

Tuohy was known as a handy GAA player before he settled on soccer, joining Shamrock Rovers in 1951. He won league and cup medals with the Hoops before a move to Newcastle United in 1960 but he was back in Dublin, with Rovers, within three years. The winning touch stayed with him as he added more medals.

He won his eighth and final senior cap against Belgium in 1965 but in October 1971 he returned to the international scene as manager of the Republic. Ireland lost six of the 10 games under his charge but he went out on a high, Ireland earning a draw away to France in his final game, and his successor, John Giles, got the benefit of many of the changes which Tuohy had started to make.

It's impossible to imagine this happening now, but Tuohy managed the senior Ireland team while holding down a full-time job as a sales rep with HB ice-cream and managing Rovers.

"I had too much on my plate. I would have loved to stay on but it was not practical to keep a job that was paying me £6 a week, and give up Rovers," Tuohy said in Sean Ryan's The Boys In Green.

It was in his time as manager of the Irish youths team in the 1980s where Tuohy really left a mark, with the major feat of leading Ireland to the World Youth Cup finals (1985) for the first time, before he was ousted by Jack Charlton.

"Anyone who spent time in his company, it was a learning experience, and it was generally a fun experience as well with his wit. He was a special, special guy," Kerr adds.

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