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Thursday 20 June 2019

Forgotten story of a really Brad Irish debut

AUSTRALIAN keeper Brad Jones had a hectic introduction to life as a Premier League player with Liverpool in midweek.

But considering his start in club football during a loan spell here in Ireland a decade ago, Jones was possibly ready for anything that the game could throw at him, as he's still remembered for the part he played in a 10-goal thriller in Dublin.

"He let in four goals, that's the first thing I remember about Brad and his first game," said Owen Heary, now captain and assistant manager of Bohemians but who, back in 2001, was a mainstay in the Shels defence which had a young Jones pitched into the starting XI for a Dublin derby at Dalymount Park.

Shelbourne were short of keepers due to an injury to Steve Williams, so Shels player Pat Fenlon used his contacts at Middlesbrough -- Fenlon used to scout for Boro -- to call in Jones, and, on a Friday night in October, boss Dermot Keely handed the then 19-year-old his debut in a Dublin derby.

Cracking

It was a big game for both sides, as Bohs - then managed by Pete Mahon - were reigning champions and Shels were aiming to land back that title, though the Reds were on a poor run at the time, with just one win in the previous five games.

"It was some game, we won 6-4 but I don't think Brad knew what hit him," said Heary.

"In fairness, he wasn't at fault for the goals, they were all cracking goals and there was little he could do about them.

"We needed a keeper at the time and we were lucky to get someone in. Brad wasn't here for that long, but while he was here, he was one of the lads.

"There were no airs and graces about him and there was no case of him being a prima donna.

"You knew the score at the same time, he was only here in Dublin to get some games in and get some experience. He was hoping to make it in the Premier League with Boro, so coming to Shels was just a sideways step for him," added Heary.

"But I knew then he was a decent keeper -- he was a good shot-stopper, I remember that."

Jones only played once more for Shels after that dramatic 6-4 game, appearing in a 3-1 win at home to Monaghan United before returning to Boro.

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