Duff highlights importance of composure ahead of Cork trip

Shels look to bounce back from last week’s disappointing FAI Cup exit when they travel to Turners Cross to face Cork City tomorrow. (7:45pm)

Damien Duff’s side return to League of Ireland Premier Division action a week after bowing out of the FAI Cup after a 1-0 loss to Bohemian FC.

Paddy Barrett was forced out of that game with an injury, Duff revealed the setback for the centre half is not as bad as first feared:

“Paddy came off last week but he’s not too bad and has been back running and out on the pitch, tomorrow might come too soon for him but we expect he’ll be fine for next next. 

“It’s a boost to have Shane Griffin and Matty Smith back on the grass, Griff we could see back next week all going well. Matty is back running now too.”

Having had to plan without two key players for a number of crucial games has been a considerable blow for Duff, but the Reds boss is not interested in hard luck stories: 

“You can’t complain when you’ve lost the game, we’ve done so well when we’re losing big players over the last few months to injury, you just get on with it, I am not someone to complain and look for excuses or hard luck stories, yes they’re big losses, Matty, Griff and Brian McManus, but what can you do? No point dwelling on it.

“We looked back at last week, watched the tape, reflected on it, and the three standouts from the game are we needed to play with more of an edge, we did not have near enough quality in our play, which was really disappointing, and thirdly, we showed a real lack of composure throughout the game. 

“Maybe the occasion affects us, when you think of the progress made over the last few months I’d like to think we’re a lot better than that first half in Dalymount and it’s up to us to show it now.”

Attention quickly turned to the trip to Turners Cross and Duff is confident his players will respond positively to the setback: “They’re young boys, we saw a good response for the most part in training this week, with them, it’s give them a shake and a rattle and get focused on the next game, we can’t feel sorry for ourselves the whole week. Time moves on quickly in football. Leave it behind because the next game is absolutely massive for us and for Cork City.” 

Friday will mark Cork City’s first game at home since the tragic passing of Ciaran Keating, father of Cork City striker Ruairi Keating, who sadly lost his life in a car accident. Duff extended his condolences to the Keating family and all connected with Cork City: “Heartbreaking what happened to that poor family and myself, the staff, the players and everyone connected with Shelbourne Football Club would like to pass on our sincere condolences to Ruairi and his family. We’re devastated for them, the tragedy they have endured is absolutely horrific and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this horrible time.”

The Reds have played Cork City twice this season, winning 2-0 in Turners Cross back in March and emerging 2-1 winners when the sides met then in Tolka Park earlier this summer. Reflecting on those games Duff said: 

“Two proper League of Ireland wins you’d say, solid performances home and away against a tough team, I’d be expecting a very different Cork City this time around. Liam Buckley has them now and they’ve set up really well, he’s one of the greats of this league, they went on a very good run and picked up a lot of points, they are still second bottom and trying to get out of that place, they are desperate for points, they want to start climbing. For us, we know how important this game is and we need those three points. We’ve been open and honest about our own ambitions, we’re not giving up on them, so you’ve two teams both desperate for the three points for their own reasons.”

Duff expects an emotionally charged occasion and a big game feel at Turners Cross and he has urged his players to match that:

“That’s up to them, we can’t go out there, all we can do is prod and plant the seeds. We’ve been really clear, we know how important it is to start fast, like I said last Thursday, if you don’t get going in that first few minutes, you’ll struggle to gain momentum in a game and it will pass you by. We can’t afford to start slow and sluggish, we need to show more quality, we know we have it, but that aside, we need to be composed, we can have quality but without having that composure it can be an uphill battle.”

Tickets for the game are available here. Please note tickets must be purchased online in advance, no tickets will be available on the day at the ground.

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