Sunday 18 February 2018

St Pats boss Liam Buckley: I've spoken to Damien Duff but so have Shamrock Rovers

Damien Duff
Damien Duff

John Fallon

Liam Buckley has confirmed he is still interested in boosting his St Patrick’s Athletic squad with the addition of former Ireland legend Damien Duff.

Despite strong reports this week of Duff choosing Shamrock Rovers as his new club upon his recent return to Ireland, the Saints manager is not giving up hope of enticing the centurion to Richmond Park.

Pictures which surfaced online on Monday showing Duff and Buckley in conversation at a Dublin hotel suggested the proposed switch to Rovers might not be straightforward.

The Saints boss remains keen on recruiting the 36-year-old during this transfer window.

“Yes, I’ve spoken to Damien but nothing has happened yet,” said Buckley today ahead of his side’s Europa League first-round second-leg tie against Skonta Riga tomorrow night in Inchicore.

“I’m aware he has also held discussions with Shamrock Rovers. He’ll be a great addition to the League of Ireland, whichever club he decides to join, but there’s no news on that front yet from my end.”

Buckley, meanwhile, is confident his FAI Cup holders can overturn the 2-1 deficit against the Latvians. Shamrock Rovers booked their passage on Tuesday, with Cork City, UCD and St Pat's aiming to do likewise on Thursday.

Aaron Greene fired the visitors ahead last Thursday before two goals on the counter-attack by Skonto left Pat’s needing at least a 1-0 victory on home turf to secure a second round meeting, likely to be against Hungarian outfit Debrecen, next week.

“At home, with the supporters behind us, we’ve got to be optimistic,” he said. “We could easily have got a few more goals last week but it was also going to be a case of having to score back here.”

Buckley will have a fully-fit Conan Byrne available for selection following his recent hamstring strain, while defender Sean Hoare will miss out through the same type of injury.

Kick-off at Richmond Park on Thursday is at 7.45pm.

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