Duff: ‘”The heart and soul is well and truly back in Tolka”

Shelbourne FC return to action after a three week break as Cork City visit Tolka Park for a crucial SSE Airtricity League of Ireland Premier Division clash (7:45pm KO)

Damien Duff’s side gave their hopes of European qualification a massive boost with a commanding performance in a 2-1 win over St Patrick’s Athletic before the break.

After training in the AUL on Thursday Duff delivered an injury update:

“Sean Boyd, Kameron Ledwidge and Matty Smith are working hard to get back onto the pitch. Brian McManus has returned and doesn’t need managing he’s fine, played against Longford and looked good.

“Dáithí Folan were in constant contact, great to see him at Longford game, he was in a wheelchair at the game and it just goes to show scary his injury was, we’ll continue to monitor him he’ll get the best of care and we’ll do everything right by Dáithí.”

The friendly at Tolka Park a week ago, a 5-0 win over Longford Town proved important for new signing Euclides Cabral who got more minutes into his legs. Duff says the Portuguese defender has settled in quickly:

“Cabral has done really well, it’s an adjustment for all of us, him moving to Dublin, I’m coaching in French and in team meetings delivering little messages to him in French too, I feel a bit like Derek Trotter at times, but look, we want to make him welcome here, he’s got ability you can see that, great assist last week of he continues to make that impact.” 

The Reds have an unblemished record against the Leesiders this season, having won all three of the meetings with Cork City this season. Despite the good record, Duff is taking nothing for granted:

“Being highly motivated and highly focused when you’re approaching every game, do that and there’s no room to be complacent, but lads have been warned, they need to focus, the staff try to give them prods and help them prepare but players know they need to give the opposition every respect, they’re coming here, and it’s a huge game for Cork, so we need to show what it means for us and I’m sure we will tomorrow night.”

The Reds have been in flying form and have endured just 1 loss in their last 13 games in the league and Duff feels that run of important wins and good performances will really help their confidence:

“People know me well enough now I’m a bit deadpan, I’m usually the same anyway, good or bad result, I’m very confident going to games regardless of previous games, or form or setbacks, the lads are high as kites, they believe they can beat anyone. A lot of that comes from the manner of beating Pats, we were relentless and the lads got a well deserved win over title contenders, 1 loss in 13 is a great stat sure, but the motivation and levels we showed against Pats, that’s as big a confidence boost as you can get.”

Despite a three week break, the Reds face three games in 7 days. Friday’s meeting with Cork City is followed in quick succession by a trip to Dalymount on Monday, a game which saw the away end sell out quicker than both of our previous visits to Dublin 7 this season, with 450 tickets for the Mono Stand gone in 3 minutes. That will be followed by Friday’s trip to Tallaght to face Shamrock Rovers.

“It’s not ideal that the Bohs game got moved so now it is 3 in a week, but listen no matter what hurdle, injury, disappointments, other issues, we’ll do what we always do, we adapt and get on with it. 

“The players have grown emotionally and in their personality over the season, you can see that in the games they don’t feel sorry for themselves, they don’t feel nervous, this run in now, 7 games to go, you’re going to get kicks, knockbacks, it’s about how you respond before the end of season.

“Without a doubt it’s as big a week as the club has had in 20 years. Speaking to people around the club, I’ve heard that and I love hearing stuff like that. The heart and soul is well and truly back in Tolka, the place is bouncing. These are special times, yes it’s the biggest week we’ve had as a group, but it’s not a time to be nervous. Savour it.”


Tickets for the Reds upcoming clash are available here: bit.ly/sfc1895


Watch all the action on LOITV, coverage begins from 7:30pm with kick off at 7:45pm. Commentary from Adam Leonard and Shels legend Stuey Byrne.

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