Sunday 22 July 2018

Heary backs sought-after Fenlon to step into Trap's Ireland shoes

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Owen Heary believes that Pat Fenlon has the ability to manage Celtic or Ireland in the long term, and therefore understands why the Bohemians boss wanted to seize the opportunity to take control of Dundee United.

The 40-year-old is now preparing for a new League of Ireland season with Bohs after his Scottish dreams were dashed by a compensation stand-off between the clubs.

Gypsies skipper Heary, who is chasing an eighth league medal this year after successful stints with Shelbourne and Bohs, is delighted that Fenlon is sticking around but expects that the Dubliner will be lured across the water eventually.

However, the 33-year-old added that he has been told by Fenlon that the move to Dundee United is dead, even though they will not appoint a permanent successor to Craig Levein until the summer.

"We wouldn't have liked to lose Pat, but if he'd have gone, hopefully we'd have got in a decent manager," said Heary yesterday. "We're delighted that he's staying. Yes, Dundee have a caretaker manager (Peter Houston, until the end of the season) but he (Fenlon) says there's nothing happening.

"Like any player, he (Fenlon) wants to go on and better himself. We'd all like to keep our best players and managers but I'm sure Pat is thinking he's never going to get to manage Ireland by managing here.


"If Pat went to Dundee, who is to say he wouldn't go on to become Celtic manager or Ireland manager? I'm sure that's the progression he wants to take, but you can understand why the board didn't want to let him go because he's the best manager they've had in the last number of years."

Heary believes that Fenlon has assembled the best Bohs squad since the defender's arrival at the club after the implosion of Shelbourne in 2006. Seven new additions have added depth and they have been training with the existing stars since January 15 although Bohs are still waiting on budget clearance from the FAI before the signings are ratified.

"All the pressure is on Shamrock Rovers to stop us this year because they were the last team to do three in a row, which they did on the way to four in a row," smiled Heary.

On Sunday afternoon, Heary will be in action against his current employers though. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of St Declan's College in Cabra, the former student will be lining up alongside a number of past pupils in a game against the champions at Dalymount Park.

His team-mates for the day will include current Bohsmen Paul Keegan and Marc Hughes, Sporting Fingal captain Stephen Paisley and also Shane Supple, who will play his first game of soccer since walking out on Ipswich.

Irish Independent

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