Derry City bound Michael Duffy pledges to 'give everything' to Dundalk until end of season
MICHAEL DUFFY will call time on his ‘unbelievable’ journey with Dundalk at the end of the season when he returns home to Derry City and he’s hoping to bow out in style with FAI Cup glory.
The 27 year-old Derry man has agreed a four year deal with his boyhood club but insists he’s totally focussed on the job at hand and determined to finish his trophy laden Dundalk career with another big day out at the Aviva Stadium.
Duffy, who has won two league titles and two FAI Cups with the Lilywhites since joining the club in February 2017, will leave Oriel Park with a heavy heart having enjoyed the best days of his career so far at the Co. Louth outfit.
He’s excited about what the future holds in store at his hometown club next year and beyond but for now he’s pledged to ‘give everything until the end of the year’ to ensure he signs off with a third FAI Cup success.
St Pat's stand in their way in the semi-finals but before that Richmond Park tie, Dundalk make the trip to Ballybofey this evening to take on Finn Harps in the league as they look to continue their recent revival and extend their unbeaten run to five games in all competitions. So plenty to play for from now until the end of the season but Duffy is 'buzzing' to get his future sorted.
“I’m buzzing the deal is done,” said Duffy in his first interview since his pre-contract with Derry was announced on Wednesday morning. “I’m looking forward to next year massively. It’s great for me and my partner, my kid and my family to get back home. It will be brilliant for us.
“Obviously I still have a big end of the season and a job to do at Dundalk so that’s my main focus at the moment.”
It was important for Duffy to remain respectful to the club which he’s shared so many great memories with over the past four years and while he’s confident he’s made the right decision, he admits it was difficult to break the news to Dundalk boss Vinny Perth.
“It wasn’t easy and that’s the first thing I said to Vinny when we sat down,” he explained. “I told him it wasn’t easy for me to tell him I was going to move on next year. It’s been such a good journey for me.
“And Vinny was actually the first person I met at Dundalk when I came to the club. I met him at the airport when I was going to meet them in Spain. So I have a good relationship with Vinny and have really enjoyed working under him. It was tough but to be fair, he respects my decision and understands why. So we will always be on good terms.”
Duffy has been instrumental in Dundalk’s success since his arrival from Celtic in 2017, winning two League titles, two FAI Cups, two League Cups, the President’s Cup and the Unite The Union Champions Cup.
The Derry man was also named as PFAI ‘Player of the Year’ in 2018 and played a key role in Dundalk’s sensational UEFA Europa League success in 2020.
Dundalk will seek to book a seventh consecutive FAI Cup final date when they take on St Pat's in Dublin at the end of the month and Duffy reckons it would be the ‘perfect’ way to end a memorable chapter in his career.
"It has been a mad journey,” he reflected. “My days at Dundalk have been the best days of my career to date. I’ve had some unbelievable years here. I came to this club to win trophies and that’s what I’ve done. I have memories that I won’t forget and it’s been brilliant.
"That’s why I want to finish on a high. We still have a cup semi-final. Hopefully we get to the final and I would love to leave after winning the FAI Cup again, that would be brilliant.
“It would be the perfect way to finish and I’m going to give everything until the end of the year to try and make that happen. It would be brilliant for the fans as well as it’s been a tough couple of years with Covid and it’s obviously been a tough year at the club.
“So it would be brilliant to get to the Aviva. It’s a brilliant day out for the fans. Dundalk have been there for the last few years and we love that day at the end of the season.”