No guarantees for Damien Duff, insists Pat Fenlon

Damien Duff might be an Irish football legend but Shamrock Rovers boss Pat Fenlon has made it clear that the club’s new star signing is not automatically guaranteed a place in his team.

No guarantees for Damien Duff, insists Pat Fenlon

“No, we can’t guarantee anybody that,” said the Hoops manager. “He knows that we have some good players here. But what it does is give everybody a lift, whether it’s the club or the league, and gives us a real attacking option in the team.

“From his point of view, when I met him — and I only met him once, to be honest — the big thing I got from him was that he wanted to play. He wasn’t interested in anything else. He felt he had a point to prove still and wants to do things properly, which was great.”

Duff made his first appearance at a Rovers training session yesterday but, as he continues his recovery from injury, was restricted to working with the physios.

“We’re hopeful that in two and half, three weeks, he’ll be in full training with the group,” said Fenlon.

Although he’s been signed primarily for his playing ability, Rovers will also facilitate the 36-year-old’s coaching ambitions.

“He’s done his coaching badges, his B badge, and I think he wants to continue with that,” said Fenlon. “We’ve got plenty of teams here, 17s, 19s and schoolboy teams, so we will accommodate him in some of that stuff but that will be outside of his football. He wants to concentrate on his football.”

Striker Danny North said the players have no issue with the likelihood that Duff’s arrival means increased competition for a place in Fenlon’s team.

“You want competition and and we already have (Stephen) McPhail and (keith) Fahey,” he said, name-checking the two other ex-internationals at Tallaght.

“McPhail’s played in the Champions league, Fahey has won the Carling Cup. They’ve both had good careers. But we’re all playing for the same club, we’re all pulling in the same direction. If he takes your place but it’s for the good of the team then you can’t really argue with it.”

As it happens, the injured McPhail and Fahey, along with Duff, will all be unavailable for Rovers’ Europa League game against Odds Ballklubb in Tallaght this evening (8pm).

“It’s a big step up from the last round,” Fenlon conceded. “The Norwegian league is a decent league so we know we’re going into a game against higher calibre oppostion. I think they’ll come and have a go.”

Meanwhile, it seems only a matter of time before Billy Dennehy departs Turner’s Cross after the winger was again left out of the Cork City squad for their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division game away to Longford Town at the City Calling Stadium on Saturday.

Manager John Caulfield said yesterday: “Billy isn’t included for this week’s match and that’s where it’s at at the moment.”

Dennehy was also left behind when the Cork City squad travelled to Iceland last week for their Europa Cup second leg game against KR Reykjavick, after clashing with team-mate Marc O’Sullivan at the end of the first leg game in Turner’s Cross.

The Tralee man is currently not training with City having been advised by Caulfield to take time out to consider a possible future elsewhere.

However, the manager said yesterday that while he’d heard “lots of rumours” no club had as yet contaced him directly about the player’s availability.

Dennehy’s brother Darren, recovering from a groin strain, is rated no better than “50/50” for the Longford game, according to the City boss.

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