Tuesday 27 September 2016

Damien Duff: I don't want to come back and play like a muppet

Published 01/06/2015 | 02:30

Damien Duff has admitted “I want to be right, I don’t want to come back and play like a muppet” (David Maher / SPORTSFILE)
Damien Duff has admitted “I want to be right, I don’t want to come back and play like a muppet” (David Maher / SPORTSFILE)

We come to Damien Duff armed with an impassioned plea from a 10-year-old boy in his old Ballyboden parish.

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Having witnessed St Pat's down Shamrock Rovers in Friday's FAI Cup clash, the innocent one was convinced that Duff would now, surely, have to commit to Inchicore, and not Tallaght, as he fulfils his long-stated pledge to finish his career in the League of Ireland.

"Ah yeah, I meant to go to that game," Duff drawls, still jet-lagged after injury aborted his A-League adventures in Australia. "But he's ten! He wouldn't even remember who I was!"

He has had his mind made up for some time that he was returning home to bring up his family; for even longer that he would bring the curtain down on his career by finishing in the League of Ireland.

Intervening

Life is intervening with the latter plans; the 36-year-old has only recently come off crutches after an ankle tendon injury.

"I'm only getting used to running again," he explains. Hence, there is no decision on where he will land up - although he had a few flirty texts from suitors.

"I have to get fit first," he says in familiarly laconic style.

"I'm doing my coaching badges at the end of the month. I'm not in it for the money, it's the joy of playing. I'm not arsed about the money. It's on the bucket list.

"I like playing football. It gives me something to focus on. If you retire and you haven't got an awful lot going on, it could be a bit dangerous.

"It's far from a bidding war! I've had two six-month injuries in the past two years, I'm 36 years old. I guess at this stage reputations count for nothing really. It's like starting all over again,

"I want to be right, I don't want to come back and play like a muppet."

Meanwhile, Kevin Doyle has been released from Martin O'Neill's squad, along with Anthony Stokes, Simon Cox and Anthony Pilkington.

Cruelly, Aberdeen's Adam Rooney and Brentford midfielder Alan Judge, who had been slated for debuts, have also been axed.

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