JOHN DUFFY has played a pivotal role in both the Cork U16s and the East Cork ladies football development’s resurgence in recent years.
John works as a supply planner for Apple as well as assuming multiple ladies football roles including head coach of the Cork U16s, Fermoy GAA treasurer and Munster PRO.
Life has never been busier despite the Covid-19 outbreak. Working from his Fermoy home with three children Caitlin (17), Seán (16) and Aisling (14), demands on Duffy’s time have remained constant over the past number of weeks.
Caitlin is scheduled to travel to NASA on a scholarship programme for two weeks next July amid a hectic schedule for the Duffy household.
“Obviously, working from home for a world-wide company like Apple is demanding but rewarding,” Duffy told The Echo. “We are dealing with customers in countries all over the world like China and the USA.
“Increased demands from our world-wide partners has made for an extremely busy time but I am very fortunate as Apple are such a great company to work for.
“As for ladies football, I have always been involved in the GAA and played for the Barrs when I was a young fella.
“It was when my daughter Caitlin started playing for Fermoy and made the Cork U14 team that I became more involved with the GAA club. It was at that point that I got to know a few people around the Cork setup and from there, spent more time coaching within East Cork.”
Ladies football has been enjoying a resurgence over the past number of years.
The East Cork division been a major contributor to Cork's success at both underage and senior inter-county level during that time-frame.
To underline the point, John Duffy is now head coach of this year’s Cork U16’s alongside manager Denis Mulvihill.
Cork’s U16 contains a sizeable East Cork contingent and are well represented on the county’s other underage inter-county panels as well.
“I got involved in Cork ladies football at a lot more serious level after working with East Cork’s Development Programme,” Duffy said.
“Tony Murphy and Gordon Kingsley were involved at the time. Catherine Murphy, Sheila Dennehy (now with the Cork seniors) and I were involved in the East Cork LGFA programme.
“Then, I moved on to the Cork underage setup and have been there for the past four years. I’ve been working with Denis (Mulvihill) for three of those four years and with Noel Twomey prior to that.
“The East Cork clubs are developing very well and that’s a major reason for having so many of their players on our inter-county squads.
“Development is taken very seriously and run by Chris Roche who is another great guy. All the people that help out Chris with the East Cork Development are just as important.”
The structures put in place by Cork have been crucial to the on-going development of underage talent within the county.
The level of commitment shown by players at those grades, allied with open lines of communication between Cork coaches, bodes well for the future.
“I believe ladies football development has improved substantially in East Cork over the last five years,” the Cork inter-county coach stated.
“Summer development programmes at U13 and U15 have definitely helped East Cork’s players. Not just in East Cork either, but in all four divisions around the county.
“This was one of (former Cork Development Officer) Eamonn O’Connor’s brainchild’s to push development on.
“Eamonn wanted more people involved at ground level and to get more girls playing football. A collaboration between the Cork LGFA county board and Eamonn got things off the ground and we are now reaping the benefits.
“Miriam Forbes has taken over as the county’s new Development Officer. She is someone who does an unbelievable amount of work for Cork ladies football and is an incredible ambassador for our sport.
“The role is in the best possible hands and I’m very optimistic about the future of ladies football in the county.”
East Cork’s clubs activity may be quiet at the moment, but life remains as busy as ever for John Duffy.
Let’s hope the Cork U16 coach doesn’t have to wait too long to return to his coaching duties.