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Keegan’s keeps it in the family with Manager of the Month win

Armagh bar celebrates win with a double trophy day

The woman at the helm of a family run community pub has been rewarded for her efforts by being named BT Sport Manager of the Month.

Laura Keegan has taken over the running of Keegan’s Bar in Armagh, Northern Ireland, from her parents, and has helped it go from strength to strength.

The pub has been a regular award winner, and now has another accolade to add to the collection.

Laura gets the star treatment outside her Armagh pub

 

Laura says that community, food and live sport are at the heart of the success of the business. 

“My mother and father bought here about 30 years ago and I was straight in pouring pints about 27 years ago and I never left. I took it on myself about 10 years ago.

“They are still very much here and I couldn’t do it without them but it can be very nerve-wracking because it is a big responsibility to take on. It has been very enjoyable and I’ve loved every second of it.

Being surrounded by family and a supportive community means we can come through all the challenges bigger and better.

And no challenge has been bigger than the pandemic, which the pub’s food offer helped it navigate.

“I was born into this and this was always going to be my path in life, I have enjoyed it and it has come with struggles at times, such as the pandemic but the food got us through it.”

Live sport has also been a huge pull at the pub. Keegan’s has a big Liverpool fan base among it’s clientele.

Laura continued: “We show all sports and we are a very big Liverpool pub so we show Champions League and Premier League. You name it, we do it. It keeps the atmosphere going and keeps the revenue coming in.”

 

We get packed on those big football nights and the banter is amazing. I went to Anfield recently and the atmosphere here is close to it.

“BT Sport is an extremely important part of our business. Without it we might as well not even open the doors.”

When BT Sport visited to present Laura with the MOTM trophy we also took another major prize with us.

Keegan’s customers wait to have their photo taken with the Premier League trophy

 

We teamed-up with the Premier League to take the Premier League trophy to several pubs across Northern Ireland, bringing in loads of customers to have their photo taken with it.

Laura adds: “The trophy coming here has been the highlight of my life! It has been a massive bonus and the customers are absolutely thrilled about it. It is a big pick me up from all the struggles in the world right now.

“We have seen customers who have never darkened our doors before and hopefully they will now come back again.”

In fact, the presence of the Premier League trophy was almost as welcome as the MOTM award. 

It’s amazing. I actually thought it was a joke when I was told I was BT Sport Manager of the month. It is a huge highlight, thank you. I’ll sit that trophy somewhere I can see it every day.

Laura was nominated for the award by membership body Hospitality Ulster.

Joel Neill, Hospitality Ulster operations director, said: “Keegan’s is one of many venues in Northern Ireland where the hospitality experience is world class.

“It is a shining example of the very best of our industry so it is very worthy of the award.

Laura who has taken over from her mum and dad and carried on the family tradition and is very popular in Armagh is a very deserving winner.”  

Joel Neill (far left) and Colin Neill (far right) of Hospitality Ulster with Laura and her father Kevin

And the appreciation is clearly mutual.

Laura says: “We have always been members and without them a pub can’t function. They are absolutely brilliant and so supportive – especially through the pandemic.

“They help with so many areas of the day to day running of a pub business. If you are in hospitality you should definitely be a member of Hospitality Ulster.”

 

  • Do you know someone who deserves to be considered for a BT Sport Manager of the Month – or Club of the Month – award? Let us know why on Twitter by tagging in @BTSportBars and using  the hashtag #BTMOTM.

 

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