Michael Duffy says he's hungry to win trophies with Derry City
MICHAEL DUFFY says it’s always been his burning ambition to bring the League of Ireland title back to his hometown club as the winger explained the reasons behind his Brandywell return.
Duffy, who signed a four year pre-contract agreement to return to his boyhood club, believes that desire to win trophies with Derry City will only get stronger once he walks back through the Brandywell gates next season as a City player.
When he returns it will be approaching the 10th anniversary of his senior debut for the club but the former Foyle Harps graduate insists he’s not coming home to put his feet up and has his sights set on winning silverware.
Indeed, he’s excited about Ruaidhri Higgins’ vision for the Brandywell club and having won two league titles during his time at Oriel Park, he’s determined to do his part in bringing a first championship win since 1997.
The Dundalk star, who made 78 appearances during his first stint at Derry, was just two years-old when Felix Healy’s team brought the title to Foyleside and he agrees it’s been far too long.
“That hunger and ambition to win the league with Derry and to bring back trophies to the club will get even stronger when I come back,” he said. “That’s always been a goal of mine.
“I know how good the memories are at Dundalk. I’ve seen first hand the joy it brought to the town and that’s been unbelievable. I want to bring that back home. I want to see that in Derry because it would be brilliant for the town and I think that’s what Derry needs,” he stressed.
Duffy has an FAI Cup winners’ medal with Derry City from 2012 amongst his impressive trophy cabinet at home. That triumph over St Pat’s at the Aviva was the last major trophy Derry won and Duffy hopes he can do his part in bridging that silverware gap.
“That’s far too long since Derry last won the league,” said the Galliagh man. “I was there the last time Derry won the FAI Cup (2012). I still have the medal in the house. I got myself a medal that day,” he smiled. “I obviously didn’t make the squad that day. I was only young but it was just brilliant to be a part of that.
“I want to come back and have a lot more of an impact than I had back then. I want to be winning trophies and that’s going to be my goal.”
The former Celtic winger, who netted a stunning free-kick in Dundalk's 2-2 draw with Finn Harps on Friday night, hopes to close the chapter on his successful experience at the Oriel Park club on a high with another FAI Cup triumph in his sights.
And while he has the utmost respect for Vinny Perth and Dundalk, the chance to work under Higgins and the offer of a long term deal and security for his partner Emily and two year-old son Eli, were among the biggest factors in his decision to return home.
“It’s a mixture of everything really,” he explained. “It’s the right move for my family. I’ve been away now for seven years. Our wee man is two years-old now and with Covid we’ve missed him growing up with our family so it will be brilliant to get back home.
“It’s where I want to be. I just think it’s right for me. The four year deal was massive for me and I’m delighted Derry have given me that offer, I appreciate it massively. It’s about stability for my family and gives me a chance to get back home and get settled.
“Ruaidhri Higgins also had a big input in my decision. I know Ruaidhri very well and the plans he’s set out over the next few years are really exciting and I want to be a part of it. Philip (O’Doherty) says he’s got a three year plan and I’m just delighted to be part of it.
“I’ve always had it in my head that I was going to come back to Derry but I wanted to come back when I feel I can have an impact on the team. I want to come back and win trophies. That’s the main thing. I’m not just coming back to settle down for a couple of years, I’m coming back to win stuff!”
Duffy joins his good friend and current Dundalk teammate Patrick McEleney at Brandywell next season and he’s delighted to continue that exciting partnership. When asked if ‘Fats’ had helped persuade him to join him at the club, Duffy stressed it was very much his own decision.
“He wasn’t torturing me as he didn’t want to fry my head about it but obviously we’ve talked about it,” he laughed. “Of course that played a factor in it. I don’t know how many years I’ve played along with ‘Fats’ now but if there’s anyone I link up best with, I’d say it’s Fats.
“We enjoy playing with each other so it’s brilliant we’re back playing together at Derry next season. He will be back from injury and raring to go. You saw how good he was just before he got injured and I’d imagine he will be even better when he gets back home. It’s exciting times and it’s something to look forward to. I’m sure Ruaidhri will be building his squad even more too in the coming months so it’s something to look forward to.”