College Tribune November 17th 2009
Fahey flying the flag for League of Ireland
With all the talk of gloom and doom surrounding our national league, Birmingham City and former League of Ireland and PFAI player of the year Keith Fahey talks to Colman Hanley about his success in England November 7th 2008, two flashes of brilliance from Saint Patrick’s Athletic Keith Fahey defeats a relegation doomed UCD side 2-0. Twelve months on, Fahey’s come a long way as he now ply’s his trade with Birmingham City in the Premier League. “Since I’ve come to Birmingham, I’ve done very well. I came over in good shape and
made a good first impression. There were difficulties in getting my debut. I was suspended, my registration didn’t clear and games were postponed, but it gave me a few extra weeks training. With it being a massive step up in standard, I just wanted to get in around the first team.” However the 26 year adjusted from the
League of Ireland instantly. After making his full debut against Derby County, Fahey only missed two other games. Needing a win for promotion on the final day of the season at Reading, Birmingham won 2-1 with Fahey scoring the opener and setting up Kevin Philips to net the winner. Modestly, he claimed, “I had a good game that day”. However things have not always been rosy for the Tallaght man. Fahey moved to Arsenal aged fifteen, and at eighteen years old, transferred to Aston Villa for £250,000. Playing with the reserves, Fahey looked destined to break through. But having struggled to settle off the pitch, he returned home. “I never really appreciated my first time in England. Going over at fifteen is hard. Other kids can be different, it’s not the same for everyone, but I struggled over there. I was grand in training, but outside, I just missed home and always wanted to be with my friends and family. But this time around, I definitely appreciate things a lot more.” Fahey joined nonleague Bluebell United before joining Saint Patrick’s Athletic and displaying his talent immediately. On his debut away to Waterford Keith Fahey celebrates the crucial win over Reading with Kevin Philips as Birmingham win promotion
United, Fahey netted a 45 yard free-kick. It may have been disallowed (due to the poor standard of referees in the League of Ireland), but it was the first sign of a star arriving in the League of Ireland. Fahey accredits his return to England to his time in the League of Ireland with the Saints. “My six years in the League of Ireland gave me good experience, it made me realise how tough things can be.” “It got me back enjoying my football and playing with my local side. I’m glad the way things happened. I got to spend a few years back at home and luckily I got another chance in England, not many get a second chance to play at the top level.” Fahey returned to pre-season training last summer with issues off the pitch on his mind. “It was hard coming back over as my dad was very sick. But I came back and got stuck into things in pre-season.” “I was leading all the running and fitness work in training, and then when it came to games being played, I managed to stay in the team. I started our first game against Manchester United in Old Trafford, it was some experience. Since then, I’ve started every game that I’ve been available for.” Sadly, Fahey’s father passed away in August. The bereavement and some injuries have meant Fahey has missed a few games. Thankfully, Fahey made his return as a
substitute for the final 30 minutes against Manchester City three weeks ago. He admits he will have a battle getting back in the team. “The lads have done really well recently, so it’ll be a test to get back in. It’s good to test yourself like this as you can take things for granted so I’ll be working hard in training to get back in the side.” “Hopefully I’ll have a full week of training, and get into the side for the Fulham game this Saturday. If not, I’ll work extra hard next week to get my place back.” Fahey’s name has been linked with the Ireland team. It’s something he is keen to play down, but admits it’s in the back of his mind. “Everyone wants to play for Ireland, I’m no exception.” “ If I keep doing my work, hopefully I’ll get a call-up. They came to watch me a few months ago so we’ll see. But it’s something I don’t lose any sleep over. It would be another achievement in my career and I’d be over the moon. But I have to concentrate on club level first and see where that takes me.” Fahey is a prime example of a young person never giving up on your dream. Despite being knocked back at a young age, he kept striving to achieve his goal. At a time when young people seem to be lacking role models, Fahey’s character and story is a beacon to all.
Fahey scores a crucial goal which helps Birmingham get promoted
Mixed fortunes for UCD GAA Colman Hanley UCD’s senior GAA side’s had a mix of bad and good luck last week. The week began well with a victory for UCD’s senior hurlers over University of Ulster Jordanstown (UUJ) as they comfortably defeated their northern opponents in Belfield. However, two days later and Jordanstown had their revenge. This time, with the tie taking place in Belfast and it being in football, Jordanstown outperformed the southerners to win 2-10 to 1-09. A dominant performance in the first half and early in the second half saw UUJ lead UCD by eleven points at one stage. However, UCD fought back in the second half. A Paddy Brady goal and several scores for Frances McGee earned UCD a respectable scoreline, but they had left themselves too much to do. The result now means that UCD’s senior football side have no competitive fixtures till the O’Byrne cup tie versus Kildare in January. On the same day, UCD freshers pro-
gressed to the semi-finals of the Fresher football competition, defeating DCU 1-15 to 0-10. Having overcome the threat of Mayo senior full-forward Aidan O’Shea in the last round, UCD this time overcame a Michael Murphy lead DCU. While the goalscoring performance by UCD full-forward Donie Kingston, the 0-3 notched by John Heslin and the eye-catching form of corner forward Niall Kilroy stood out, no player on the UCD side from one to fifteen could have been faulted. The efforts of GAA young footballer of the year Murphy of Donegal, who recorded the vast majority of DCU scores, did cause UCD some problems. However, the one man DCU side were eventually kept under control and UCD eased to victory. The freshers now face Queen’s University Belfast in the quarter finals in UCD on Wednesday at 4:30pm. The side’s progress has been impressive and should they maintain their form, a semi-final could be on the cards.
College Tribune Volume 23 Issue 6 November 17th 2009