Duff ready for Dublin Derby

The Dublin Derby is the focus of a busy Friday night of SSE Airtricity League of Ireland Premier Division action as Shelbourne make the short hop to Dalymount to face Bohemian FC (7:45pm KO – live on LOItv)

Damien Duff’s side start the night top of the table following a 1-0 win over Galway United at Tolka Park on Monday night.

Shane Farrell’s injury was cause for concern for Reds when he was forced off the pitch after a heavy blow to his shoulder, leaving the Reds to see out the game with 10 men. Duff delivered an upbeat fitness update to ShelbourneFC.ie this evening: “The injury situation is good. Shane Farrell is grand, there is nothing wrong with him… don’t worry he’s getting some stick in training, the lads are on him. Going off in a sling on Monday, he actually trained fully the next morning. Farrell is flying around the place in training but he won’t be let forget (about Monday), he’s getting slaughtered.” 

“Sean Boyd is back from suspension, great to have him. It is never a good time to be suspended, but in this case, it wasn’t any harm because it helped him get sharper and fitter, Boydy didn’t really do a pre season because he was coming back from injury, he’s done a mini pre season while suspended.

“Sean feels good, chomping at the bit, told me yesterday he’s ready to explode…  it’s a fine line, if he explodes too much he’s back in the stands sitting beside me, so he needs to manage that but he’s ready, he’s up for it and can’t wait. Everyone is fit except for Shane Griffin. Griff is coming along nicely though, walking around pain free. He has a calf strain which can be frustrating. We’ll just give it the time to heal fully so he has no setbacks.”

Reflecting on the start to the season which has seen the Reds occupy the top spot in the table for the first time since 2006, Duff isn’t getting carried away:

“It’s been a good week for us, it doesn’t get any better, six points and a clean bill of health and look at the two teams we’ve played and their results so far. Sligo had a big win over Dundalk, Galway have been very good, really competitive, shows you how good our wins were. We know how hard that is to do over Friday-Monday, so to come through that weekend with the points and no injuries is really positive, it’s been a great week so far.”

The Reds’ wait for a win at Dalymount in the League of Ireland stretches back to 2013, where a Dean Kelly double and a goal from Sean Brennan saw Johnny McDonnell’s side record a 3-0 victory in an otherwise awful season. Duff knows they’ll need to be at their best to take all three points:

“It has been mentioned we havent won there in quite awhile. We can’t say we feel any added pressure, we put enough pressure on ourselves already. Going into Rovers a few weeks back, we knew it was 18 years since a win at Tolka, we referenced it before the game, but it didn’t make us want to win more. Every time the players go out there, they want to do the club proud and have that motivation to win, we know it’s been a long time, but it won’t impact us, we know to go to Dalymount and win we need a special performance regardless of where they are in the league or the recent results, it won’t make a difference.”

A 3-0 win over Bohs in the FAI Cup in 2022 is a standout memory of recent Dublin Derbies for Shels fans. Duff says while it was a high point of his first season in charge, it will not be on his mind tomorrow:

“It was a great day, you could call it a turning point in that season or a statement result, I like to think we’ve had plenty of those along the way. I think it’s a result that sticks out in everyone’s mind for good reason. It’s a cup quarter-final at Tolka, place was jammers, lovely day, early kick off and it was a great performance, everyone still fondly remembers it now, supporters, me, players, and staff. It was a proper performance and great result, but it was soon forgotten about and the only focus is on 7:45pm tomorrow night.”

“Parking the good results against Sligo Rovers and Galway United, to win at Dalymount you can’t put in a 60 min performance, we need a special, top class performance. We know what’s needed to win the game, it’s a lot easier to do it when we come out of the traps and start well and not chase a performance. Guys are aware, they need to start quickly, in a Dublin Derby, there’s no time to work your way into the game, you need to be on it from minute one, it might not be pretty, you might have to do the ugly work and then make your quality count.” 

Before finishing his weekly press, Duff paid tribute to Mark Coyle who won the Player of the Month for February and also the Goal of the Month. It’s the second time in three months a Shels player has won the top individual monthly award, Jack Moylan won it in October, November went to Ronan Coughlan of Waterford, while Coyle won the February award.

“We were surprised by his Goal of the Month if I’m honest, Mark was told this morning. It was a brilliant goal, it has to be said, a big goal for us in a Dublin Derby, but I think Jarvo’s was better. Goals once they go in. That’s all that matters. Really pleased he’s won the Player of the Month award, if I could choose one player for it, I would choose him, that’s why we made him captain, he’s a leader, and he can do great things at this club. The scary thing for Mark is he’s won player of the month and he can play and will play an awful lot better, the only way is up for him and the players.”

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