KEITH FAHEY SAYS he is focusing on his career with St Pat’s and won’t get too distracted by talk that he could still have a part to play in Martin O’Neill’s plans.
Speaking after he scored the only goal in his side’s President’s Cup win over Sligo yesterday, Fahey said he was “embarrassed” by talk of a potential Ireland future call-up.
When quizzed on the matter, he said: ”I don’t even want to mention it, I’m sick of you mentioning me towards Ireland, I’d rather you didn’t. It’s a little bit embarrassing to be honest. I’d like it to be left there. I’m not putting my name forward. It seems that you are putting my name forward and I’m being rejected, so I would rather you didn’t mention me towards Martin O’Neill again. That’s a personal thing.”
However, Fahey believes there are players in the League of Ireland who are talented enough to represent their country.
“I’ve always said there are good players in the league. As a whole though, it’s a different ball-game to England. It’s a different competitive level day in, day out. It’s a different game to be honest. There are good players, it’s just a shame that things behind the scenes aren’t up to scratch.
“It’s a long way from what I had at Pat’s. We had a training ground up in Celbridge and we trained on grass every day. We’ve had to do all our pre-season on astro. The proof is there — it’s not where it was. The players are there but it’s not what it was.”
An despite his eye-catching display yesterday, Fahey inists he is still a long way off full fitness.
“I’ve played a few friendly games against local sides but it’s a long way until I get to my proper fitness. I’ve had a long time out. I haven’t played consistently since before the Euros. I’m a good bit off fitness and sharpness. I’m just happy that I’m getting out on the pitch at the moment.”
Asked if training on astro took its toll on players’ bodies, he responded:
“It does indeed. It’s harder. It’s not grass. The grass is for football and personally I don’t think astro is for bodies to be moving about on.”
Overall, he said Pat’s were relieved to have gotten the win despite “not playing brilliantly,” and having to endure spells without the ball.
He also singled out Sligo’s veteran midfielder Joseph N’Do for praise.
“He’s a different class. He gets them playing with his passing. He gives them confidence to pass the ball. He is the stand-out player in the league.”
He added: “It was a good win. Sligo will be up there. We’ve a little bit of work to do I think, but it was a good win, we ground it out. It’s obviously early doors, we’re not motoring 100% but it will come right. It’s a good sign that we’re winning. We had a tough game against Dundalk and we ground that out as well.”
And while the facilities may not be perfect and he remains well off full fitness, Fahey says he is still glad to back in the League of Ireland.
“I said before Christmas that I need a lift. Everyone else was delighted that I signed, but personally I needed a lift myself, so it has given me a lift and I just want to continue doing well and getting games into me.”
Meanwhile, Pat’s manager Liam Buckley admitted Sligo were slightly unlucky to lose and added that he was not getting too carried away with the result.
“The games will be tight. Looking at the bench today, they had ten who could have played, not unlike ourselves. I’ve no doubt they have ambitions to go all the way. Does it have any bearing on [the season]? I don’t think so. It’s nice to win, but the only thing up for grabs is the President’s Cup.”
Buckley also said that his team are close to being the finished article.
“If you asked me last year, it took two or three games until we were settled. This year, I think we’re a much more settled group. We will play better, I know the quality we had in the group, I’d be fairly excited about the group, I’m sure there are a few decent performances in it.”