Monday 22 January 2018

Duff takes on Rovers youth role

Damien Duff is set to become head coach of the Shamrock Rovers U-15s
Damien Duff is set to become head coach of the Shamrock Rovers U-15s
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Damien Duff is set to take another step up the coaching ladder after agreeing to become head coach of the Shamrock Rovers U-15 team.

The Hoops will be competing in the new U-15 National League that kicks off this August and Duff - who has already been helping out with that age group - will be on the sideline.

Duff is involved with the Republic of Ireland underage set-up at U-15 level and is also part of first team manager Stephen Bradley's backroom staff.

Rovers Academy director Shane Robinson said: "Damien is one of Ireland's greatest ever players and his vast experience and knowledge of the game will be of immense benefit to the players and coaches that work with him.

"Damien is already an integral part of our first team coaching staff and he will combine his existing first team duties with his new role in our Academy," he added.

The Tallaght outfit are on verge of completing work on the first phase of their new training facility in Roadstone. They have invested heavily in the underage side of the club with a view to the long term and they are actively engaged in recruitment at schoolboy level.

Meanwhile, Preston attacker Callum Robinson is on the radar of the FAI after it emerged that he could qualify for Ireland.

Robinson played for England all the way up to U-20 level while on the books of Aston Villa. He joined Preston last year and has become an important member of their first team squad and has scored nine goals this season.

It's believed that the FAI have been researching the 22-year-old's eligibility and have found substance to the links.

The senior management team will already be aware of Robinson with the large Irish contingent at Preston swelled by the winter arrival of Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle.

Blackburn winger Connor Mahoney is another rising Championship star with Irish qualifications but he told the FAI 18 months ago that he wanted to break into the England set-up and that remains his position.

Mahoney will have a new club manager soon after Blackburn parted company with former Ireland international Owen Coyle in the aftermath of Sunday's FA Cup defeat to Manchester United.

Blackburn are second from bottom and facing a battle to avoid the drop to League One.

Irish Independent

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