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Ireland face up to familiar exodus

Published: Wednesday 12 November 2008, 16.55CET
The Irish Premier Division is poised to lose another of its brightest talents after Saint Patrick's Athletic FC midfielder Keith Fahey announced his desire to leave the club in favour of a second spell in England.
by Aidan Fitzmaurice
from Dublin
Ireland face up to familiar exodus
Keith Fahey in action for St Patrick's on Monday – his last appearance at Richmond Park? ©Sportsfile
Published: Wednesday 12 November 2008, 16.55CET

Ireland face up to familiar exodus

The Irish Premier Division is poised to lose another of its brightest talents after Saint Patrick's Athletic FC midfielder Keith Fahey announced his desire to leave the club in favour of a second spell in England.

The Irish Premier Division could lose another of its brightest stars after Saint Patrick's Athletic FC midfielder Keith Fahey announced his desire to leave.

Fahey departure
The 25-year-old has rebuilt his career in his homeland after an unsuccessful spell across the Irish Sea with Arsenal FC and Aston Villa FC. Having made just one first-team appearance in England, Fahey has become a key figure at St Patrick's and is on a six-man shortlist for the Irish Player of the Year award. However, Monday's 2-1 win against Derry City FC in the penultimate game of the season – with Fahey scoring one and creating the other – may have been his last outing at Richmond Park.

Time to go
"That was probably my last home game for St Pats, it's out of my hands now," said Fahey, who has two years remaining on his contract. "It's up to other people to do the business end of things, but if I have my way, I will be gone. That's not being disrespectful towards St Pats as I have had great times here, but I need to step things up in my career and probably need to move on to do that."

'Resentment'
Plenty have done similar down the years. Irish internationals Kevin Doyle, Shane Long and Daryl Murphy all made their names with local clubs before prospering in England – Murphy at Sunderland AFC where there are eight Irish players in Roy Keane's squad. As Keane benefits from the drain of talent, however, his first club Cobh Ramblers FC experience the downside of the exodus. Stephen Henderson has confirmed that he too will leave once the season ends this month, whether his side escape relegation or not. "I always said I will not walk away from this club a bitter man, but I have felt some resentment in recent times," he said. "It's best I go before that resentment turns me into someone I don't want to be."

'Difficult to replace'
Players of the calibre of Henderson and Fahey will not be easy to replace, however, as St Patrick's manager John McDonnell explains of his charge: "Keith has done it all season – his fitness level and desire is fantastic. He will be difficult to replace, not too many players in this league have Keith's quality. If he goes it will be with our blessing, but it has to be the right move for Keith."

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