Damien Duff accepts Shelbourne U17 head coach offer

Damien Duff is set for a League of Ireland return after accepting an offer to become Shelbourne’s U17 head coach.
Damien Duff accepts Shelbourne U17 head coach offer
Former Republic of Ireland international Damien Duff. Photo: Alan Harvey/Sportsfile
Former Republic of Ireland international Damien Duff. Photo: Alan Harvey/Sportsfile

Damien Duff is set for a League of Ireland return after accepting an offer to become Shelbourne’s U17 head coach.

The Reds approached the Ireland centurion when learning of his intention to quit Celtic and return to Ireland for family reasons.

Duff had been confirmed in April to feature on the backroom team of new Ireland boss Stephen Kenny, whose team kick off their campaign with the September Nations League double-header against Bulgaria and Finland, but he'll combine that job with domestic duties.

The 41-year-old is familiar with the national underage league landscape, having managed Shamrock Rovers’ U15s for two seasons before landing a job at Parkhead in January 2019.

It had been expected that he’d return to the Hoops but Shels have swooped to land one of Ireland’s most highly-regarded coaches. Kenny insists he'll have a concise role in his set-up which also features Keith Andrews.

Duff will reunite with two of his staff from Rovers, including Shels defender Luke Byrne.

A year ago, Stephen Henderson was recruited by the Shels to become head of youth development, just a week after he concluded a second stint as manager of First Division club Cobh Ramblers.

The Reds’ underage teams play their home games at the AUL complex in Dublin.

Duff's squad are due to restart training next Monday but are awaiting a date for fixtures to resume as senior clubs remain deadlocked on formats around the senior league kicking back off.

“It was absolutely a family decision,” Dubliner Duff said last week about his decision to depart Celtic.

He had been swiftly promoted from reserve side assistant boss to a similar role with the first-team, once Neil Lennon returned to the club to succeed manager Brendan Rodgers.

“There is no job in the world that would have taken me away from the role I was in.

“I’d love to be a brilliant coach one day, but I think it’s more important at the minute that I’m just a brilliant Dad, I guess.”

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