'A creative and inventive training ground coach with a high work ethic' - Stephen Kenny on Damien Duff

Thu, Apr 09 2020

Damien Duff began his coaching career at the under-15 level Credit: Steve Alfred (ETPhotos)

The makeup of Stephen Kenny's backroom team has been much talked about since he took on the senior managerial role with the Republic of Ireland in the last week.

While there seems to be more column inches on who is out, rather than who is in, that is somewhat understandable given the novel four year contractual arrangement Robbie Keane had with the FAI. While Keane was part of Mick McCarthy’s coaching team, Kenny has cut Keane clear and brought his own men in.

At Thursday’s ‘virtual’ press-conference with the national sportsmedia, Kenny showed some neat Damien Duff-like footwork to sidestep as best he could talk of Keane’s omission and the new boss was clear he is very happy with the coaching team he has brought together with Keith Andrews, Damien Duff and goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly.

“The thing about Keith (Andrews) and Damien, with technology changing so rapidly so has the job, they’re two modern-thinking coaches who both worked at club football and in the international setup,” said Kenny.

Duff, who was capped 100 times for the boys in green, spent the last year as part of the coaching set up at Celtic following Duff’s departure from his under-15 role at Shamrock Rovers during which time he was also part of the Ireland under-15 coaching team. 

“He threw himself in at the deep end going back to under-15 footballer and starting,” said Kenny about Duff.

“From where he came from as a player, you have to admire that as well. He did a very good job there for Shamrock Rovers, and they’ve got a great academy and Damien was a part of that.

“That year at Celtic will be of huge benefit to him, because they’ve had good results in Europe. He’s had to adapt tactically to all of those games. I feel he will be a very good addition.

“At Celtic he has played a pivotal role in terms of a potential treble for them. He is quite a creative and inventive training ground coach with great preparation, and attention to detail and high work ethic.” 

Kenny got a chance to see Coach Duff up close this year when the former Chelsea player was studying for his pro-licence with the FAI and Duff made his mark during that training course.

“Damien was selected by the group to go to Switzerland to put on a session for all the other people who were doing pro licences from all the pro licence groups in different countries in Europe. He was brilliant.”

Duff was known for his dawn training sessions when he was manager of the Rovers under-15 team. When extratime.ie asked Kenny will the players have to get used to some early starts, the Ireland boss laughed that suggestion off but just confirmed that Duff “is very hard working!”

Additional reporting by Dave Donnelly