Ireland’s Hugo Keenan during the Six Nations. Image: EPA/TIM KEETON

How Chelsea’s cup final loss inspires Irish rugby star

Chelsea fan and Ireland rugby star suffered through watching the League Cup final at Wembley from the Liverpool end.


Ireland’s Hugo Keenan during the Six Nations. Image: EPA/TIM KEETON

Ireland rugby star Hugo Keenan was in attendance as Chelsea lost the League Cup final to Liverpool and the Blues fan feels inspired to win trophies for Ireland as a result.

Keenan, who was also a spectator as Ireland beat Wales to cement their Six Nations log lead, doesn’t like sitting in the stands.

Chelsea loss inspires Ireland star

He feels a certain helplessness and frustration which is common among elite athletes forced to spectate.

“Yeah, 100% it fuels you,” he said according to the Irish Mirror. “The novelty of watching the game in the stands wears off pretty quickly – I’m not great in the stands to be honest.

“You can’t control anything.

“I’m not used to it.

“Luckily, I’ve had a good run of being injury free over the last two plus years and I’ll be a sort of a nervy watcher too sort of at the edge of my seat, shouting and screaming.

“The less of it the better, I say.”

Bottle job leaves Keenan gutted

Keenan was gutted that Chelsea went down and sitting in the Liverpool end had to keep some of that bottled up.

“I have two big Liverpool friends,” he said. “They had three tickets and teed it up a while back but I didn’t really know whether I would get the chance to go.

“I’m obviously a big Chelsea fan but I was stuck in the Liverpool end, which wasn’t too enjoyable.

“I had to hold back some of the emotions but I got it cleared with some of the physios and just did a day trip over and back so it worked out well.

“It was nice to have a bit of a distraction and something to look forward to while you’re injured as well.

“Unfortunately it didn’t go our way, we didn’t get the result we wanted in that sense – probably a frustrating one because Chelsea could have and probably should have won it in the 90 minutes.”

Keenan’s replacement against Wales, Ciaran Frawley, got over to score.

However, if fit the regular No 15 should come back in when the Six Nations resumes.

Motivation from Chelsea loss

Keenan says watching the celebrations up close for fully 45 minutes at Wembley gave him fresh perspective and desire.

“Absolutely,” he said. “We’re in a very privileged position to have that incredible support following us over to France and in the Aviva getting sell out games.

“I was there for about 45 minutes after watching all the celebrations going on at Wembley, it’s tough but it gives you motivation to be in that situation yourself.

“Obviously the World Cup was hugely disappointing in that regard, not being able to go the full way, and we have had a few tough losses obviously with Leinster as well.

“I think the main learning and the main way I will be using it is to add that extra bit of motivation to be that person or player on the pitch lifting the trophy with friends and family, doing it for them.”