Wednesday 21 February 2018

Damien Duff will be at Euro 2016 cheering on the Boys In Green from the stands

Robbie Keane and Damien Duff during a squad training session in 2011
Robbie Keane and Damien Duff during a squad training session in 2011

John Fallon

Damien Duff has given a deeper insight on his decision to retire – revealing a Cup victory signalled the end of the road for one of Ireland's most gifted players.

The Dubliner, capped 100 times by Ireland, called a halt to his decorated 20-year career in December with a year still left to run on his contract at Shamrock Rovers.

Speaking after being honoured for his service to football by the Soccer Writer Association of Ireland annual banquet, Duff said his decision to quit arrived on October 3, three weeks before his final game against Drogheda United, following a low-key fixture at Dalymount Park.

“It was a Leinster Senior Cup semi-final against Bohemians and I was playing in the team along with a few young lads,” explained the two-time Premier League winner with Chelsea.

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“Although we’d won, when I got home that night, I just felt as flat as a pancake. I have very high standards for training and matches and just thought the time was right to finish.

“As Roy Keane said to me earlier tonight, your body tells you when it’s time to stop. So, the next morning, I asked the Rovers manager Pat Fenlon for a minute to chat and told him I was finishing up at the end of the season.

“In fairness to Pat, he tried to convince me to stay on a few weeks later but my mind was made up.”

Meanwhile, now he has time on his hands back living in Wicklow with his wife Elaine and their kids, Duff admits he is tempted to support the Ireland team this summer at the European Championship finals in France.

“Well, I’ve started getting really into the red wine thing,” he said with typical dry wit when asked about his travel plans. “One of the games (against Belgium) is in Bordeaux, so that’s one I’ll definitely be at.”

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