Friday 23 February 2018

Orphans' welcome brings tear to Duff's eye

Tom Brady in Tibnin

Damien Duff and brother Gerry, a sergeant in the Irish Army, with children at an orphanage in Lebanon.

DAMIEN Duff became a father last year, so a trip to an orphanage in Lebanon left the football star a little emotional yesterday.

The 33-year-old former Chelsea and Newcastle player was the centre of attention during his morale-boosting trip to Irish peacekeepers, who have helped to build the orphanage.

He admitted afterwards he had a tear in his eye as he and his brother, Gerry, a sergeant with the Irish Army, met them.

"As somebody who became a father 14 months ago, I felt for them," he said "But they are all happy and well looked after."

Most of the children are now on school holidays and they turned out to meet Damien with a poster of an Irish jersey with "Duff 11" inscribed on it.

One of the troops who could be forgiven if his thoughts stray back home is Sgt Ruairi "Archie" Byrne. His wife, Katherine, is due to give birth on July 18.

"As soon as I hear that the baby is born, I will be seeking permission to catch the first available flight home," said Archie, a Dubliner living in Ratoath, Co Meath.

Irish Independent

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