BIRMINGHAM City and Ireland star Keith Fahey has become the latest person to shower praise on Dundalk’s Setanta Cup talisman Mark Quigley, labelling his former team-mate the best player in the Airtricity League.
Fahey played alongside Quigley at St Patrick’s Athletic for two seasons between 2006-2008 and while some observers have raised their eyebrows at Quigley’s blistering start in a Lilywhites shirt, it comes as no surprise to the Irish international.
“I think Mark is far better than anything in the League of Ireland right now. He has technique, great feet and scores great goals. Basically I think he is class, I always did”, said Fahey.
“I’ve seen his goals this season and I’m not surprised he’s been playing as well as he has. I always thought he was great to play with. When I went back to St Patrick’s Athletic he was brilliant in training and in the games – especially the European nights. Against Elfsborg away in the 2008/2009 UEFA Cup he was unbelievable. He held the ball up brilliantly for the team that night in Sweden.”
Quigley and Fahey both endured a difficult time to their careers. After standing out for Dublin schoolboy club Belvedere, Quigley moved to Millwall as a 15-year-old in 2002 but a combination of injuries and three different managers meant he failed to make an impact at the Den and, after a loan spell at Shamrock Rovers in 2005, he came back full-time to the League of Ireland in 2006 to join Johnny McDonnell’s St Pat’s.
Fahey also had teething problems in his bid to establish himself in the UK. Spells with Arsenal and Aston Villa failed to work out, leading to him returning home in 2003. After a period at Drogheda United he starred for Pat’s in their UEFA Cup run of 2008, opening the door for a move to Birmingham City. Since then he has not looked back, playing 10 times for Ireland and winning the Carling Cup.
Fahey was 25 when he joined Alex McLeish’s side – the age that Quigley is now - and he sees no reason why the Dundalk striker can’t follow in his footsteps.
“If Mark didnt get a move away it would be a shame”, said Fahey. “I’d love to see him test himself at a higher level. He’ll continue to score goals in Ireland and do bits and pieces that are amazing, but I would love to see him test himself by doing it somewhere else. He can only get better.
“We had a bit of a connection when we played together. He is very clever, he knows where to run and he can finish well and he has shown already this season what a great finisher he is.”