Duffy is determined to deliver
CASEY O’Brien’s choice of captain was surely a very wise move when all is said and done. Heading into a year just after winning the Miley Cup and knowing the pressures that would bring and yet still desperately desiring to win the club’s first back to back since 1961 he needed a cool head, a mature footballer who exudes class and patience and possesses an almost effortless grace as he ghosts around the football field. Yes, he found the right candidate in Stephen Duffy.
On the phone, Duffy speaks like he plays, controlled, calm, ambitious, not prone to silliness or the ridiculous. He speaks about progression when the steady improvement of this Pat’s team is mentioned. He speaks about the fact that this is the third year of the management team and how the work has all been done, that the team is littered with leaders.
‘We’re ticking along nicely,’ he begins, ‘things are going well. We’ve a big panel so training is very competitive. I woudn’t like to be picking the team,’ he added.
He’s right of course. What a job that would be. Having to choose the starting 15 from a panel where many of the substitutes would walk on to many of the teams in the county. It’s the shift from beatable to damn near unbeatable is what has people most impressed by this Pat’s set up. Obviously, Damien Redmond or the AGB players won’t see them as unbeatable but to the outsider looking in this Pat’s team are as good a team as has ever played in the county.
They have it all over the field. From shane Doyle in goal to a full-back line that has thwarted every single attack this season in championship with the installment of Matthew Traynor on the edge of the square taking place as smoothly as the blinking of an eye.
In the half-backs they look like they can cause any team major headaches with the game management of Conor Ffrench and the marking and attacking flair of Patrick O’Keane and Ciaran Doyle. In the middle they have the beast that is Dean Healy and the creative and energetic John Crowe while the ageless Paudge McWaletr prowls on the 45 balways looking for work. Duffy himself will roam while Tommy Kelly will look to maintain his fantastic form by inflicting severe damage on the AGB full-back line.
‘We’re in the third year of this coaching set up and we’re seeing the results with lands being able to just slot in. We can pick four or five lads for every line on the field. The majority of that is down to the coaching. The players have a clear understanding of what needs to be done. It’s all about progression,’ he said.
It’s AGB who Duffy and his colleagues will face. The former Wicklow RFC star and Towns Cup winner is nor surprised that Damien Redmond’s men came through their replay battle with Blessington.
‘I wasn’t overly surprised, certainly after the first day. They are unbeaten and are in good form. They’re always right in the game until the end, there’s no way that a game against them will be over after 40 minutes and that’s testament to them keeping going and turning the screw when the chances arrive.
‘They’re a good team, they’ve their own way of playing and they can bring on fresh legs,’ he added,
Being made captain was a proud moment for Stephen Duffy but like all the Pat’s players and, management he’s not thinking about Leinster campaigns or bring home the first double since 1961, he’s thinking about the game, the 60-odd minutes, and scoring more than the opposition.
‘Winning one game of football on Sunday is the focus. We’ve big opposition in AGB to get through first,’ he said calmly.