DAMIEN Duff is determined to keep newly-promoted Shelbourne in the top tier of Irish football for the foreseeable future.
The former Irish international and ex-Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea and Newcastle United star was at Turner’s Cross last night to watch his new charges play out a 1-1 pre-season friendly draw with Colin Healy’s Cork City.
“It was a good night all round for us and for Cork and it was good to get a game like this in before the season proper starts next weekend.
I had to change and overhaul our squad because I felt that was what was needed at Shelbourne and we had done it. I have a brilliant squad now and they are really hungry. The priority for me is to keep the club in the Premier Division after coming up as First Division champions and that’s what we intend to do,” said Duffer after strikers Dan Carr (ex-Shamrock Rovers) and Cork’s Cian Murphy exchanged goals.
Carr gave the Reds a 32nd minute lead with a sweet finish across goalkeeper David Harrington from Jack Moylan’s pass before Murphy rifled home Jonas Hakkinen’s 58th minute knockdown inside the box.
“Shels’ need a bit of stability and consistency because for too long we have been yo-yoing between the divisions and we need to stay up now. Shelbourne is a massive club, and a bit like Cork, they need to be playing week in, week out in the top flight,” added Duff who wants to impose his own playing style on the Tolka Reds.
“We want to play an attractive brand of football and try to dominate the opposition. I think the game should be played a certain way and hopefully we can dominate games, which is probably unheard of for a First Division team coming up,” said Duff who was promoted from the U17s to succeed Ian Morris as the top man.
“We’ve built a brand-new squad almost overnight but we know what we are aiming for and we are ready. Some might call it risky but I thought it’s what the club needed. We just want to do well, win a lot of games and play some good football,” he added.
Cork open their First Division campaign away to Bray Wanderers on Friday night while Shels entertain FAI Cup winners, St Pat’s in a Dublin derby.