Keith Fahey in a happier place with Shamrock Rovers

Republic of Ireland midfielder admits ge did not enjoy his third stint with St Patrick's Athletic

Keith Fahey on leaving St Patrick’s Athletic for Sharmrock Rovers: “I’m just happier here to be honest. There was a decision to be made at the end of last season and I feel I have made the right one.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Keith Fahey on leaving St Patrick’s Athletic for Sharmrock Rovers: “I’m just happier here to be honest. There was a decision to be made at the end of last season and I feel I have made the right one.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Having made a couple of hundred appearances for the Inchicore club over the course of two previous spells there, fans of St Patrick’s Athletic liked to see Keith Fahey’s return last year of something of a homecoming. But they say you should never go back and the 32-year-old Dubliner sounds these days like a man who really wishes he hadn’t.

“It wasn’t an enjoyable year, no,” says the Republic of Ireland midfielder who moved to Shamrock Rovers during the close season. “I didn’t enjoy my year down there, no. I won a cup with Pats and I enjoyed that but since I’ve come here it’s probably the best decision I’ve made in a long time.

“I’m just happier here to be honest,” he continues. “There was a decision to be made at the end of last season and I feel I have made the right one.”

Fahey declines to be drawn on what it is that left him disgruntled last year before suggesting that he thinks Rovers have a slightly more professional feel about them. “I’m just happier here,” he says, “going into training is more enjoyable. There is more organisation around things and things seem to be done to a higher spec here to be honest.”

That is not, he insists, because he feels that one club is bigger or more ambitious than the other but it’s a damning enough assessment nevertheless.

Fahey, like everyone else at Rovers sees the league title as the primary target for the coming campaign and having taken two wins from two, including an opening night victory over his old club, Pat Fenlon’s men are settling down to their task nicely so far but the former Birmingham City midfielder is certainly not getting carried away.

Cork physicality

“Yeah, it’s a good start alright but that’s all it is, a good start . . . you have to show that in different games that you play in different ways with different players.”

On Friday night there is a suggestion that the Dubliners will have to cope with the greater physicality of a Cork side that can make a battle of a game when they want to and Fahey recalls the opening game of last season with St Patrick’s at Turner’s Cross when, he says, “they kicked lumps out of us”.

With both sides bringing a couple of international midfielders to the table, however, it really should amount to a good deal more than a scrap with Stephen McPhail, Liam Miller and Colin Healy, like Fahey himself, all having the potential to put their foot on the ball, make space for themselves and open it up for others.

“It’s good for the league,” he says. “Across the board, Dundalk, Pat’s . . . there seems to be a lot of strong midfields. This time last year it was about me and Stephen [McPhail] in the build up to games but there seems to be more and more coming back now. There’s talk of Damien Duff coming back. It’s great for the league and it’s great for younger players that they have senior professionals that have played at decent levels to learn from if they want. If they don’t, so be it.”

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