Kennedy: I thought I was having a heart attack

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Ex-Ireland man Mark Kennedy admits he feared he was having a heart attack when he was struck down by illness earlier this week.

Dubliner Kennedy, 33, is now in his second season with Championship side Cardiff City and he played a part as they won 4-2 at home to Leicester City yesterday in the FA Cup, earning a meeting with Chelsea in the next round -- a glamour tie for the Welsh outfit.

But only two weeks ago the outlook was very bleak for the former Liverpool and Manchester City player as he feared the worst when he was struck down by a mystery virus, which swept through the Cardiff squad, just before their league game with Scunthorpe United.

"I'd been ill for a week. I'd actually thought I'd got over it. But I woke up on the Friday about half five in the morning with really bad chest pains and I knew something wasn't right. I don't mind admitting I honestly thought I was having a heart attack. I was panicking," said Kennedy, who joined the Bluebirds from Crystal Palace in 2008.

"You are thinking, 'I'm 33 years of age, this just can't be right'. You start thinking silly things. I went in an ambulance to hospital, they said they needed to take a look at me. They gave me an ECG on my heart. They told me I wasn't having a heart attack. At the time it seemed very serious.

"Once I had some pain-killers I was fine. It was a really bizarre situation.

"I actually came into training the same day, but they told me to go home. I was looking to travel to Scunthorpe," added Kennedy, who said the illness was a very serious worry for all the players.

"It's the worst I've ever seen. I've been a pro for 17 years and I've never missed one day of training, and I had to have a week off," said Kennedy.

"Quite a few of the lads have been struggling with it and playing at the same time. It must be frustrating for fans seeing players coming off and not knowing why, but Ross McCormack could not breathe at times and some of the lads were coughing up blood during games and at half-time.

"You might get players somewhere who won't battle on like that, but not the lads here. Players here want to play. They don't want to sit at home.

"I can't take credit because I didn't do anything, but some of the lads here played through it and they do deserve credit.

"It's been bad. I've never come across it at any other club before, but everybody is back on the mend."

Kennedy, who last played for Ireland in the 2-0 win over Russia just before the 2002 World Cup finals, was back in his usual left-back slot for yesterday's Cup clash with Leicester, where the Bluebirds extended their unbeaten run to six games. But boss Dave Jones has not been without his critics this season.

"It's reality check time at Cardiff. We need the right expectations. The club is doing great at the minute," added Kennedy.