Duff ready for FAI Cup clash with Bohs

The much-anticipated FAI Cup clash of Shels and Bohs is one one of the standout ties of the first round. Dalymount Park is the venue for the Dublin Derby.

It comes just a week after the sides played out a 1-1 draw at Tolka Park, with Bohs coming from behind and happy to leave Tolka with a point.

In team news, Matty Smith remains out of action, the game also comes too soon for Shane Griffin and Brian McManus:

“No major change in the injury situation. We had a good week’s training. Matty Smith, Brian McManus and Shane Griffin remain out of action. Brian is long term, coming from a serious operation. Matty and Griff had a light jog today. Back on the grass, we’ll hope to get them back into the group over the coming weeks”

It’s been a busy week off the pitch as Duff secured the futures of a number of key first team players with contract extensions for JJ Lunney, Mark Coyle and Sean Boyd, following on from earlier announcements of new deals for Conor Kearns and Gavin Molloy this season. Duff also revealed that Jad Hakiki is signed up for 2024, having penned a long term deal with the club last year:

“Getting the business done early has played a big part in how we worked the last year and a half. We got our contracts sorted and had clarity. It’s important in this league when not many clubs offer long term deals, to tie down the guys we need and secure their future to Shelbourne, because others clubs are sniffing around and want to take them away. It’s important that we get that done. Another one is Jad Hakiki, he signed a two and a half year deal last year, so he’s part of the plans for 2024 as well, after the injury impacted a lot of last year, it’s great to have Jad show what he can bring to the group again.”

Having reviewed the most recent meetings of the sides, Duff feels the main takeaway from the game is a renewed sense of confidence for his players: 

​​“We watched it back, it just gives you confidence and for the boys, we know we played really well. We know on another day we deliver a better last 20 mins and we see it home. Still though we can approach the game with confidence, that’s the main takeaway after watching the tape

“We’ve tried to get going, fast starts is something we want to see, that was there at Tolka a week ago, we want the guys to start fast. If you don’t start fast you will always struggle to get it back if you let the other team dictate the pace of the game, we want to see that again tomorrow.

“We do a lot of work on defensive and offensive stuff, the hardest thing to do is score and create chances. I’m not surprised our record is what it is is, defensively in the league we’ve been good I know the work that goes in from the players and the staff, we pride ourselves on that defensive solidity and long may it continue” 

The Reds made it to the final of the FAI Cup for the first time since 2011 last season. ​​Despite falling short at the final hurdle, Duff feels the experience will stand to his squad:

“I think the cup run brought us on leaps and bounds, I’d put the final in that bracket too. You learn the most from defeats and bad defeats in particular, can bring you on as a person. That’s where the most learning and growing up came for our lads. Guys that played in the Aviva last November and were involved. I think there’s motivation there. They know the last game was against Derry and that was a tough day, a very hard one to take. I think those lads will go out with a point to prove, and I think players should embrace that feeling.

“Listen we all approach games differently but that’s what I loved as a player, having to prove people wrong, I loved being slaughtered, being given out to, I think it made me a better player, carrying that bit of anger, that gave you an edge. If I became calm and nice and played that way it never brought the best out of me.” 

The peak of the rivalry between the clubs was in the early 00s when Pat Fenlon’s Shels and Stephen Kenny’s Bohs were fighting for top honours.

Since the Reds returned to the top flight the spark between the north Dublin neighbours has reignited: 

“I’m a blow in, but all I know is I can spot a rivalry a long way away, we’re here 18 months. This is the 7th or 8th time we’ve played them. There’s an edge there, a proper rivalry, you can see it and feel it, it’s on the pitch, it’s between players and between the staff, it’s in the stands between the fans, you can sense it on match day, you feel it all week in the build up to the game. Shels – Bohs, FAI Cup, it’s as big as it gets.” 

The game is sold out, but you can watch it live in the Bar @ Tolka Park, open from 7pm.

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