New documentary about Irish football at its best will be aired on Friday night 5 years ago

New documentary about Irish football at its best will be aired on Friday night

It will be shown on Irish TV on Friday night.

"He was so passionate about it, he was so committed, he was so respected he so driven," Richie Sadlier says at the start of Kerr's Kids: The Story of Irish Football’s Golden Generation, a documentary about Brian Kerr's time as Ireland underage manager.


"He was just so good. He was just so good at the job."

The next hour goes on to show just how good Kerr was at his job. It shows how many talented young players Ireland had 20 years ago. And highlights once again just how staggering it is that Kerr no longer works in Irish football in an official capacity.

Kerr's Kids is about Ireland's success at underage football in the late 1990s.


In 1997, Kerr's Ireland team finished third in World Youth Championships in Malaysia, where they lost in the semi-finals to an Argentina side containing Esteban Cambiasso, Juan Roman Riquelme and Pablo Aimar.

The following summer, Ireland won the European Championships at U16 level, where they beat Italy in the final, and at U18 level, where they beat Germany on penalties in the final. It was a unique time for Irish football and this success at underage level has never been replicated.

Some of the players involved in Kerr's underage teams that went on to play for the senior team included Robbie Keane, Damien Duff, John O'Shea, Richard Dune, Stephen McPhail and Andy Reid.


In the documentary, it comes across just how important Kerr was for their development, particularly with regards to playing for Ireland. Kerr and his assistant Noel O'Reilly instilled a love of playing for their country within these players.

They created an environment where they could express their talent, develop as players and individuals and enjoy themselves. The teams didn't lump the ball away and Kerr fully believed in the talent of the young players he was coaching.

Kerr's recall is astonishing at times and he speaks about matches with incredible detail. The archive footage is also wonderful.


At a time when Irish football is in a flux, this documentary is either a much-needed lift or a bittersweet reminder of when Irish football was full of promise. It depends on your outlook. Either way, it's a really good sports documentary and something genuine football fans in Ireland shouldn't miss.

This was a time when the best of Irish football still had the power to shape it. A time just before Robbie Keane and Damien Duff developed into top-class players. Before Saipan. Before Henry's handball. Before the drubbing at Euro 2012.

It was a time before globalisation significantly reduced the chances of Irish players competing for the top teams in England.

However, it was also a period when Irish football looked beyond the game across the water and trusted Ireland's best with the development of the sport in the country.


Irish football still had some promise at this time and the documentary captures this throughout.

Kerr's Kids premieres this Friday, November 23rd at 10pm on eir sport 1.