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Ireland left-back Cunningham completes return from injury with first Championship outing in a year

The Galway native played 90 minutes for Cardiff City on Saturday.

Cardiff City's Greg Cunningham (file pic).
Cardiff City's Greg Cunningham (file pic).
Image: PA

ALTHOUGH CARDIFF CITY emerged on the wrong side of the result, their defeat to leaders Reading was a significant step in the right direction for Republic of Ireland international Greg Cunningham.

After being selected at left-back in place of the injured Joe Bennett, Cunningham played all 90 minutes of a competitive game for the first time in 12 months.

The injury-plagued Galway native has spent almost a year on the sidelines after rupturing his anterior cruciate knee ligament while on loan at Blackburn Rovers last season.

He made a brief cameo in a recent Carabao Cup defeat to Northampton Town, but Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Cardiff City Stadium represented his first taste of league action since being condemned to a lengthy lay-off in 2019.

At the time, Cunningham had just been selected in the Republic of Ireland squad by Mick McCarthy for the European Championship qualifiers against Georgia and Switzerland.

The former Manchester City player has four senior caps for his country, but the most recent of those came under Giovanni Trapattoni in a February 2013 friendly against Poland.

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Neil Warnock signed Cunningham from Preston North End for a reported fee of £4 million as Cardiff City were preparing to return to the Premier League in the summer of 2018.

However, he was restricted to just seven top-flight appearances for the Welsh club, who ended the season with relegation back to the Championship. Cunningham was then sent for a loan spell at Blackburn which was cut short by his ACL injury.

The 29-year-old’s current contract with Cardiff runs until the end of this season.

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Paul Dollery

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