Duff ready for Dublin Derby

Shelbourne FC Head Coach Damien Duff is looking forward to the first Dublin Derby of the season with almost a fully available squad to choose from as the Reds travel south of the Liffey to Richmond Park.

JR Wilson has returned to full fitness after last week where he made a substitute appearance from the bench. Shane Griffin meanwhile continues to recover from his muscular injury that saw him miss out last Friday.

Speaking to ShelbourneFC.ie Duff said “JR Wilson is fine. He came on last Friday it’s good to have him back fit and in contention. Shane Griffin is back on the pitch, he’s not 100% right yet but we’ll see how he goes and look to next week.” 

Duff also spoke about the long-term absences of Conor Kane and Jad Hakiki “ The good news being that both are stepping up their recovery.” 

When asked about the opening round of fixtures where only one team in the league picked up all 3 points on offer highlighting the competitiveness of the league assessing this Duff said:

“It will be a tight league around that midsection. A lot of teams are strong. I won’t be surprised to see teams take points off each other. Shamrock Rovers and Derry City you’d expect to pull away. After that there’s a lot of points up for grabs and a lot of giving and taking between the rest of the teams in the league.”

Tomorrow night’s opponents St. Pats opened their season with a late equaliser against title hopefuls Derry City when asked about their start to the season Duff analysed the game:

“Derry had a very good first half and could have been 2 or 3 goals up. Tim Clancy changed formation and brought quality on. Being able to spring Jake Mulraney and Eoin Doyle off the bench, that’s real quality. These players will have an influence and can cause the opposition problems. Set-pieces had a big say, pPat’s were relentless with corners and free-kicks. In the end Derry conceded. We’re expecting a tough game.” 

Last time out against St. Pats the Reds fell to defeat on the closing day of the 2022 season Duff feels little can be taken from that result:

“No listen, it’s not worth reading anything into it. Grab maybe some patterns of defensive and attacking play but that’s about it. Our guys may as well not have been there, they had all eyes on the FAI Cup Final. Rightly or wrongly, it’s wrong, you can’t go into a league game like that, but I understand human instinct.”

“Lads went in focusing on staying fit and available for what was to come so honestly for us, it wouldn’t be worth reading too much into the scoreline or that night.” 

Shels and St. Pats share a rivalry dating back to the Pat Dolan and Ollie Byrne days, this rivalry has reignited in recent times, Duff had his say when quizzed on this topic:

“I think there’s great history there, in the 2000s Shels v Pats was the fixture, that was the rivalry everyone was watching. Ollie Byrne and Pat Dolan, two of the big personalities in the league. It was good to see Pat at the game last week in Tolka, he looks after some of our lads as an agent.”

“Shels and Pats under Pat Dolan have had many battles down the years and that’s back to the front now. I think it’s down to our lads being competitive, upsetting people along the way. But the bit of needle has been reignited, take it as a compliment that that’s there.”

Discussing the results against St Pat’s from last season the head coach said:

“The 4-4 game we should have won, there was so much good stuff in it. It was a very good performance from us. I showed the lads the tape this morning, we gifted them a lot of goals over the four games. We feel we have to work hard and play great football to get goals, where we cough up easier goals for them. It’s something we’ve worked hard on to cut out.”

The Shelbourne Fans Forum took place on Wednesday night in the Tolka Bar with Damien Duff and captain Luke Byrne in attendance. Duff spoke about the honesty and positivity that was evident among those in attendance:

“It’s always nice to meet the fans at Tolka, I found it was a positive energy in the room. We tried to be open and honest. Hopefully they got insight into me and how I am, not in an interview or match night, because that’s not really how any of us are.”

“I hope I conveyed how we work. All the players get off me is honesty, energy and detail. That’s what I gave the fans the other night. Think they hopefully got some good detail into what we’re about, how we operate and more importantly my ambition for this club.”

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