Michael marks 20th birthday with happy hat-trick!

MICHAEL Duffy may have left his teenage years behind him yesterday having celebrated his 20th birthday, but the Galliagh lad remains on a high having netted his first senior hat-trick for Derry City.

In doing so the left winger has now achieved his pre-season objective of reaching double figures on the goal-scoring front.

Facing UCD in the Belfield Bowl on Sunday afternoon, Duffy registered his goals in the 20th, 50th and 52nd minutes to ensure that his home town club would secured another vital three league points.

“It was great to score my first hat-trick the day before my 20th birthday and I was really delighted as I had set myself a person target of getting in double figures this season,” said Michael.

“I’m really enjoyed my football and I feel comfortable having played in every game,” he added.

One of the first names on the Derry team-sheet, Duffy is relishing the experience and having started so many games this term, he now believes he had settled nicely into the first team.

“Now that I’m scoring goals, I really do feel much more comfortable. I’ve always been confident in my own ability and now I feel I’m expressing myself by scoring goals.

“I’ve played on the left wing when in the reserve team, so it was a natural move for me when breaking into the first team and things have been coming together nicely.”

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A former St. Columb’s College pupil, Michael attended the North-West Regional College last year completing a Sports Science course but his full focus now rests with the “Candy Stripes.”

“We hope to push on up the table as we believe we could still secure a fourth place finish. We’ve now gone on a four games unbeaten league run and we’re playing very well.

“We’re also in the third round of the FAI Cup and we’ve got a home draw, so that’s another target and I’d dearly love to reach the final having been on the bench when Derry defeated St. Pat’s a few years ago in the Aviva Stadium,” noted the winger, who was also thrilled to have scored goals in European football as a 19 years old.

“Playing in the Europa League was a great experience fpr me and it was brilliant and to have scored goals in the away legs in Wales and in Belarus despite the defeat by Shakhtyor.”

Duffy also has hopes of one day securing a transfer to a cross-channel club but, at the moment, his priority is with Derry City.

“Every player has dreams of joining a club across the channel and playing at the highest level possible. I haven’t thought too much about that as I’m keeping my head down and concentrating on played with Derry.

“I’m really enjoying the season now that we are back on track and I think it’s great that other local players who I played with in the reserves, such as Josh Tracey and Nathan Boyle, are now breaking into the first team.

“They both played well against UCD on Sunday and I’ve no doubt they will continue to get opportunities in the first team now that they’ve broken into the panel,” concluded.