'Stupid' pub league jibe doesn...


'Stupid' pub league jibe doesn't bother Bohemians midfielder Keith Ward

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John Sheridan's disparaging remarks about the league he manages in ruffled a lot of feathers but they were like water of a duck's back for Bohemians midfielder Keith Ward.

The Waterford manager annoyed Dundalk boss Vinny Perth, who claimed after the Premier Division draw between the sides last Friday that Sheridan had referred to it as a 'pub league' and a 'shambles of a league'.

There has been no comment by Sheridan or his club on the alleged remarks which ex-Cork City defender Damien Delaney referred to as "horrific comments" on Off The Ball - but Ward was a little more forgiving when he also considered how heated things can get during a game.

"Stuff gets said in a match between players and things are said and obviously on the sideline things are said. If he has said it, it's poor, it's bang out of order," Ward told OTB Sports. "It's not something I'd like to hear from my manager, if I'm playing under a manager who says I'm playing in a pub league.

"Now maybe it was just said out of context, I don't know, but at the end of the day he's managing in this league so it's like, slagging himself if he is saying that. I don't know, I don't really care about that stuff, what managers say."

The Dubliner has been around the league a long time having started out playing for UCD in 2008 before going on to play for Dundalk, Sligo Rovers and Derry City as well as his current club where he is now in the fourth season of a second spell.

The 29-year-old believes that there is enough evidence there to shoot down any claims that the domestic game is of a poor standard.

"I obviously don't like hearing bad stuff being said about the league or people coming over disrespecting it," said Ward.

"It's a great league with some serious players and I do think a little comment like that or a stupid comment like that shouldn't be taken too seriously because I think that anyone who knows the league or has been watching the league knows how well it's going at the moment.

"The players in the league, there's a lot of internationals, there's a great standard of player and young players coming through.

"To be honest it's not a nice thing to be said but I take it with a pinch of salt because I'm someone who's been around the league a lot now and I know how well teams are doing and how well the coaches are doing and how good the players are in the league. A stupid comment like that wouldn't bother me to be honest."

There is no doubt that Sheridan may have been in line for some choice words from opposition supporters but with games being played behind closed doors, it is something that the former Republic of Ireland midfielder won't have to worry about.

The absence of a vocal support is something that the players have had to get used to since they returned to action and while Ward admits that it's not the same playing in eerily quiet stadiums, there is one positive that has come out of the current situation.

"It's why you want to play in the league, you get to go out and play in front of the fans and the good atmosphere, it's the most important thing about playing in the league, that I enjoy and I think [the other players] would say the same," said Ward.

"It's awful at the moment the way it is but obviously it's good to see that the [Watch LOI] stream is going well. Even for someone like myself, the way the fixture list is as well, I'm getting to watch all the other teams all the other matches which I'm enjoying. Maybe that's something going forward that could be good for the league."

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Bohemian FC Bohemians Dalymount Park John Sheridan Keith Long Keith Ward Premier Division SSE Airtricity League

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