Bit of a hustler on dance floor was that shy, introverted right-back Kieran O’Regan, who looked barely 15 when he broke into the Brighton first team on the last day of the 1982/83 league season. Here he is surrounded by lots of cassettes, proclaiming to love music but being bit of a wallflower when it came to boogieing on down:
When it comes to relaxing, Kieran O’Regan’s got it taped! He’s a great music lover, but one song you’ll never hear when he’s around is the Sound of Silence! ‘I play music all day long, when I’m relaxing,’ he explains. ‘I don’t listen to the radio very much. There’s too much of a mixture. You get good records, then they’ll play something you don’t like. So, I’d rather play cassettes by my favourite groups.
I like a lot of different groups, but most of the tapes I buy are by well-known singers like Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Genesis and Fleetwood Mac. I like watching rock shows on TV too, like Top of The Pops and the Tube.’ With his obvious love of pop music, is Kieran keen on dancing? Is he, perhaps, the secret John Travolta of the Albion side?
‘No, definitely not,’ he laughs. ‘I’m not a great one for dancing. I’m happier to sit back and listen to the music. I’ve never wanted to join a group or be up there on the stage singing. I didn’t even join the school choir. I’m happy just to be in the audience.’
Yeah, right. Late on at Hillsborough in February 1984, however, Kieran strutted his funky stuff, showing the kind of fleet-footed magic that could only be learned by dancing in his bedroom in time to his favourite music:
The article, from the Brighton v Swansea programme in February 1984, continues:
Kieran has made tremendous progress during the 18 months he has spent at the Albion. The highlight of his career to date was his International debut for the Republic of Ireland last November. ‘That was just a few days after my 20th birthday, so it was a very nice present.
My debut got a lot of publicity back home in Cork. My mum and dad, and three sisters live there, and I think they were proud of me.’
Kieran comes from a very close family and he admits he was very homesick when he first came to the South Coast. ‘It wasn’t easy at first. I missed my family and friends back in Ireland. But my landlady, Mrs McLeod, did everything she could to help me settle down. I’ve been living at her house since joining Brighton. I feel like one of the family now.’
It always takes time to settle in a new town, but Kieran has plenty of friends in Brighton now. His best mate is another of Albion’s talented young Irish players, Gary Howlett.
‘The other players call us Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, because we’re always together. When the weather’s fine, we beth enjoy a round of golf, but in the winter, we’re more likely to play a game of squash. We both like going to see other teams play too.
‘Gary Stevens is helping me with his promotions company and Gary Howlett and I go up and see him playing for Spurs when we can. We both like their attractive style of play.’
Away from soccer, Kieran is easy-going and a little shy. But he comes to life when he runs out onto the field for a game. ‘I realise how lucky I am,’ he says.
‘Football is my hobby, but I get paid for playing and I’m starting to see the world now too. Life is all about enjoying what you do and there’s nothing I’d rather do than play football.’
At the age of 20 and with an exciting career stretching out in front of him, Kieran’s view of life can be summed up in two words.., sweet music!
Over the next few seasons, O’Regan showed he could also do a good job in midfield. However, he failed to fully establish himself in the Brighton side. When the club was relegated at the end of 1986/87, O’Regan left for Swindon Town, still only 23.