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18th May 2024

“I’m very fond of Stephen but I don’t speak to anyone” – Damien Duff addresses relationship with Stephen Kenny

Ronan Calvert

Damien Duff Stephen Kenny

Shelbourne boss Damien Duff has cleared up his relationship with former Ireland manager Stephen Kenny.

“I might actually watch an Ireland game now for the first time in quite a while because I’m excited about who is on the sideline.”

Those were the words of Damien Duff when pressed for his thoughts about John O’Shea‘s appointment as Ireland interim manager in March.

Words which left some quarters wondering whether Duff’s infamous exit from the Ireland coaching ticket over ‘videogate‘, had stained his relationship with the now also departed Stephen Kenny.

Duff and goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly dramatically resigned from their positions on Kenny’s Ireland coaching team after a motivational video for a friendly against England was investigated by the FAI.

Newspaper leaks had suggested some people inside the camp were offended by the video’s contents.

Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, however, Duff moved to address his relationship with Kenny, saying that, despite his recent comments, he is “very fond” of the new St Patrick’s Athletic manager.

He also made the point that just because he doesn’t keep in contact with people doesn’t necessarily mean that he doesn’t like them.

“No, I don’t speak to anyone,” explained the former Chelsea winger, “So it’s not something to read into that we had a falling out, no.

“I’m very fond of Stephen but I don’t speak to anyone. I go through my phone, it will be the staff, it will be Darren (Cleary – Shelbourne press officer) once a week for pre-match, it will be my wife and my parents.

“Outside of that, I don’t speak to anyone in football. I’ll go home tonight and watch Pat’s, my son’s confirmation on Saturday and it’s just all about Pat’s now.”

Duff’s choice to watch Kenny’s Pat’s side is not just born out of curiosity – he will be going head-to-head with his former colleague on Monday night, live on Virgin Media television.

Damien Duff pleased to see Stephen Kenny back in the League of Ireland

“It’s great that he is back in the game,” Duff continued. “It’s great that he’s back in this league because I think Irish football runs through his veins.

“He might have got a gig in England, I’m glad he stayed in Ireland. As for chats and hugs on Monday night, no, it’s all about Shelbourne Football Club and getting three points.

“Listen, I’ve obviously spent some time with Stephen, I know how he likes to play. The most important thing on Monday night isn’t me meeting Stephen, it’s just Shelbourne.

“He (Kenny) is a League of Ireland legend, he has a CV and a trophy cabinet that I and we can only envy at the moment. He’s been the shining light of the league for many years. I’m pleased he’s back, the impact I’m sure will be positive.

“He knows the league inside out, he knows the players, he knows how to galvanise and like I said, all I’m worried about is not looking at other clubs and what’s going on there. It’s all about Shelbourne now and what we can as a staff do to keep improving Shelbourne.”

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