Young Rovers star Miele pays tribute to Duff influence
Brandon Miele will miss Damien Duff's guiding influence around Shamrock Rovers but the outstanding young player of 2015 says he now has the confidence to push on to the next level this term.
Duff spoke highly of Miele during his brief stint with Rovers last term and the talented winger, who came back to Ireland after being released by Newcastle, is in a much better mental state heading into his second season at home.
He is now in India with the Rovers squad on their unexpected pre-season trip to the Sait Nagjee Amarsee International tournament. Miele has the potential to go far in his career if he can build on a debut campaign that ended with the PFAI Young Player of the Year gong.
"Last year I was really low on confidence and this time I'm really high so I'm hoping to have a bigger impact," says the Dubliner. "Having Damien around was massive for everybody, you'd want to train at your best to show him what you can do.
"And, obviously, he gave a couple of good comments about myself so that obviously boosted me up as well. I could see from his side of things why he retired. He's won everything, and I'm sure he's enjoying his time out now and doing whatever he wants to do."
Duff is still helping out with coaching the Rovers U-15 side and it's believed that he could even join in with some senior training sessions to keep himself active, a development which would be welcomed by Miele and the rest of the squad. For now, they are focused on a unique Indian challenge. It's his second time on football duty in Asia; the first was in 2012 when he was part of a Newcastle squad that won the Hong Kong Sevens.
"It was a seven-a-side on a nine-a-side pitch," he recalls, "The humidity was unreal, but it was a brilliant experience. I hope this is the same. The heat will help our fitness."
Meanwhile, champions Dundalk have asserted that they owe no money to the club's former owner Gerry Matthews and expect to obtain a Premier Division licence to play in Oriel Park this year.
Matthews still holds the lease for the ground and he is involved in a complicated dispute related to a Youth Development Centre which was built on site during his tenure.
The FAI's licensing criteria require each club to be able to guarantee the availability of their ground for the season but Matthews has written to the association to state that Dundalk don't hold such a contract. He is seeking a financial settlement that would entail handing over the lease.
A Dundalk statement says they have received a licence for every season since the takeover from Matthews was completed in 2013, adding that the current hierarchy paid €192,000 to creditors as part of that deal.