Thursday 27 July 2017

Fahey retiring 'will be a big loss' for Rovers after injury cuts short career

Keith Fahey
Keith Fahey
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Former Ireland international Keith Fahey has retired from football on medical advice at the age of 32 after being warned that playing on could pose long-term implications.

The Shamrock Rovers midfielder has suffered long-term problems with a hip injury that carried over from the end of his time with Birmingham. He then suffered a new knee problem and a recent operation revealed the extent of his problems.

It's understood that Fahey was informed that he'd struggle to get back to his old level if he attempted a recovery, in addition to risking complications down the line.

The news is a considerable blow to Rovers who only signed Fahey in a controversial move from St Patrick's Athletic over the winter. He made 12 league appearances for the club and, ironically, his final outing came in a cup defeat by the Saints at Inchicore in May.

Pat Fenlon hailed Fahey's professionalism and the club have left the door open for the Tallaght man to return in a coaching capacity as he progresses with his coaching qualifications.

"Keith will be a big loss to Shamrock Rovers and the League of Ireland in general," said Fenlon. "He has been a central part of our squad this season and has been a great influence on the players, particularly the younger members of our squad."

Fahey was away with Arsenal and Aston Villa as a teenager but struggled to settle. He came back to Ireland and really found his feet in an initial spell with St Patrick's Athletic.

A string of impressive displays secured him a switch to Birmingham in 2008 and he went on to line out in the Premier League, pick up a League Cup winners medal and earn 16 caps under Giovanni Trapattoni.

He scored a range of spectacular goals over the years, but arguably his most significant strike was a close-range winner in Armenia in 2010 that proved vital when it came to securing Euro 2012 qualification. Unfortunately, injury prevented him from going to Poland and that started a luckless run.

As one international departs, Damien Duff is moving closer to a Rovers bow. He has a chance of being in the squad for Monday's crunch meeting with Cork although it may depend on how Fenlon's group come out of tonight's trip to Longford.

It's a big weekend in a league title race that has gained intrigue after Dundalk's draw with Longford last weekend combined with wins for Cork and an in-form St Patrick's Athletic side who go in search of a club record ninth success on the trot against Bray this evening.

Liam Buckley's charges then travel to Louth on Monday, with Dundalk under pressure to collect three points in Derry this evening as they are now just four ahead of Cork and nine ahead of Pat's and Rovers.

"If we look after Bray, we'll have a chance going to Oriel," says versatile Saints attacker Aaron Greene.

"That's do or die really. If we win, we know we're definitely in with a shot and they will know it too. But let's look after Bray first and then hopefully we can rock the boat."

Bottom club Limerick, buoyed by back-to-back victories, are aiming to cause another upset in Cork with Martin Russell targeting five wins from their remaining ten matches.

Irish Independent

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