Duff looks ahead to Saints showdown

Shelbourne FC face a third game in seven days as a hectic week is rounded off by the visit of St Patrick’s Athletic to Tolka Park in the League of Ireland Premier Division (7:45pm, kick-off).

The Reds will be looking to return to winning ways having bounced back from successive defeats to take a hard fought and well-earned point on Monday night against Shamrock Rovers.

After modified training week to account for the match Monday, Reds boss Damien Duff spoke to ShelbourneFC.ie and began by giving an injury update:

“Shane Griffin is our only injury concern at the moment. Mark Coyle has trained fully today, which is a big boost for us. It’s his first game back, so naturally, we’re hoping he gets through it without any issues. He’s fit and well, ready to go. 

“Griff has been close, he was back in the squad for a game then he had a minor setback, calf injuries can be frustrating and if you don’t deal with them properly they can be a disaster. It’s just a little nick, but we need to be really careful not to push him too hard and risk a breakdown.

“Matty Smith is doing fine, he’s pain-free and moving well. He put in a good performance on Monday. He’s still getting back to his best, considering he effectively missed a year of football. But he’s looking well and progressing all the time.”

Much of the discourse has been dominated in the buildup to this game by the sending off of Shane Farrell last Monday night. The 23-year-old will miss tomorrow’s game through suspension. Duff is determined to help the attacker reach his full potential said:

“Shane is one of our own. This is his club. He needs us and we need him. I spoke to Shane, he apologised for getting sent off. That’s it done, we move on.

“Everything will be given to him on and off the pitch as always. I will continue to wait for Shane to get fit and show his wonderful ability.

“I will also continue to dedicate my life to Shane and the rest of the players. They are my family.”

A point against the Hoops sees the Reds remain top of the table ahead of the visit of the Saints. Duff feels as important as the result was a much-improved performance from the Reds.

“First and foremost, before you look for points, it’s always about performance. More often than not, when we get that performance, we get a win. It’s about playing with a real energy and edge. We had that on Monday. There will be dips, highs, and lows across a long season. When you get knocked down, experience a low, we acknowledge it and we get on with it. We still dropped 2 points, so it’s important we get back to our best and winning ways now tomorrow.”

St Pats won the FAI Cup in comprehensive fashion last season, sweeping Bohs aside in the showpiece decider at the Aviva Stadium. Duff knows they are a formidable side and believes nothing short of Shels best will do tomorrow night:

“St Pats have a lot of quality, they may not be happy with all their results, some of them have been mixed, but they’re a very dangerous team. They have brilliant players in every position and some of the biggest names in the league, whom we have the utmost respect for. I’m glad it’s a Dublin Derby; there’s nothing like these games, they really are big occasions and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Close to 5,000 people are expected at Tolka Park on Friday night, Duff reserved praise on Shels fan who persevered through the dark days, and commended them for the warm welcome shown to new fans:

“The big positive about this club since I’ve been here is everyone pulling in the same direction. That unity is important and it can’t change, whether it’s on the terraces, on the pitch, in the office. It was eye-catching to see people spilling out onto the new terrace on the Riverside; I thought it was amazing.

“For much of the last 20 years seats have been taken out of Tolka, it’s been made smaller. Now we’re doing the opposite, if you’d have told people two, three years ago, we’d be putting in standing room for an extra 1,000 people in the Riverside to cope with demand, would they believe you? I don’t think so. That was an incredible sight on Monday. The dream has to be to fill that whole stand, both Riverside 1 and 2, and then in the centre. Because when that’s done, there won’t be anything like it in Irish football.”

“Tomorrow night I know they’ll be behind us, but it works both ways; we need to give the fans something to lift them off their seats. A moment of skill ,a big tackle, after Farreller got sent off,  in the last 15 minutes, or so when Sean comes on and throws his body around, that’s what gets the fans enthused. Whatever it takes, as good as they’ve been, it’s a two-way street. We need to get them going, and we’ll feed off their energy.


Tickets for the Reds upcoming clash are available here: https://shelbournefc.ie/tickets-2/


Watch all the action on LOITV, coverage begins from 7:30pm with kick off at 7:45pm with commentary from Declan Drake and former Shels defender Dave Rogers.

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