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Konopka Pleased With Second Irish Try – Yanks Abroad
December 2, 2009


Yanks Aborad
Gareth Maher – Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2009 signaled another year with another winner’s medal for Chris Konopka who just wrapped up his second season playing in Ireland where he has picked up a total of three medals.

It is the sort of achievement that one would imagine will crop up as a trivia question in years to come, but for the 24-year-old goalkeeper it will always act as a reminder of his successful stint in the League of Ireland.

Having started his professional career in MLS with the Kansas City Wizards, Konopka opted to take on a new challenge when he linked up with Bohemians in 2008. It turned out to be a worthwhile switch.

The Dublin club marched their way to a double triumph as they won both the Premier Division title and the FAI Cup. While Konopka was forced to play back-up to first-choice keeper Brian Murphy, he certainly enjoyed the experience.

As the season wrapped up in November last year, the New Jersey native was expecting to be offered a new deal, but nothing happened and he said was forced to move back Stateside to assess his options.

“Yes I was (expecting to get a new deal),” Konopka told YA. “I was talking to Pat (Fenlon, Bohemians head coach) at the end of the season and at the time there was no indication that they were going to bring in anyone and keep both me and Murph (Brian Murphy).”

“I believe, however, that the club went through some financial difficulties in the off-season so that was the main part of me not signing back there.

“Obviously they sorted all of it out in the long run and ended up having a fabulous season, but things happen for a reason.”

After holding talks with Longford Town, the ambitious keeper eventually returned to Ireland in the summer when he penned a short-term contract with promotion-chasing Sporting Fingal.

Not only was he moving back to Dublin, a city that he describes as his ‘second home’, but he was also being presented with another chance to prove himself in the Irish league.

“I knew what I was coming into when I signed. The club (Sporting) has a fantastic structure and is hopefully on its way to being a model club around the league,” he explained.

“I think that in the matches that I have played, I have showed well enough. At the same time, all you can do is keep working at it.

“Because no matter how well you played or have been playing, you can always find something that you could have done better.”

Sporting, in only their second season as a club, sealed promotion to the top flight after beating Bray Wanderers in a play-off and capped off a fine year by winning the FAI Cup following a victory over Sligo Rovers.

While Konopka did play in the cup semi-final, he was left on the bench for the final as Darren Quigley was preferred to start between the posts. Nevertheless, he is upbeat about how his second spell in the League of Ireland went.

“Coming in in July the club told me first and foremost that their number one objective was to get promoted. Getting to the cup final was sort of the icing on the cake,” he said.

“Obviously I would like to have played (in the final). Being there on the bench last year (for Bohemians) was a great experience, but there is obviously more about it if you get a chance to play.

“Either way, it is a great honor to have been back in the cup final and to get back to back medals,” concluded Konopka.

The former Wizard appeared in four matches this past season for Sporting and hopes to parlay that performance into a new contract with a club this offseason.

Yanks Aborad
December 2, 2009