Dundalk winger Michael Duffy has outlined that his international transfer from Northen Ireland to Ireland has been completed and that it has always been his dream to represent the Boys in Green.
Duffy was one of the standout players in last season’s double-winning Dundalk side, scoring 13 goals and picking up the PFAI Player of the Year award, in his first season back in the league following a spell at Celtic.
Ahead of the games against Northern Ireland and Denmark in November, then Ireland manager Martin O’Neill praised Duffy and outlined that he had chosen to represent the Boys in Green over their Northern counterparts, but had not been included in his squad as they were still waiting on the necessary paperwork required to confirm Duffy’s switch.
Speaking to Pundit Arena, the 24-year old explained that as far as he is aware the paperwork was sorted following the last set of internationals and outlined that he is looking forward to hopefully playing his way into Mick McCarthy’s Ireland plans going forward.
“Yeah, I think the paperwork is all sorted,” began Duffy.
“I believe it came through after the Northern Ireland game in November so it’s good that that’s done. Mick McCarthy is the manager now and all that I can do is just try and play as well as I can back here and try and get recognised again.
“It’s going to be really tough, Mick McCarthy may have different plans, he has a lot of options available to him. All I can do is try and play as well as I can and hopefully I can get seen.
“It’s a change for the team with McCarthy coming in but I’m sure it’ll be good. I’d love to be a part of it anyway when the time comes!”
Duffy had previously represented Northern Ireland at underage level and had even been called up to the senior squad by Michael O’Neill in 2016.
The winger, however, outlined that he had always dreamed of playing for Ireland and when O’Neill called him, it made the decision that much easier for him.
“The decision to switch from Northern Ireland wasn’t really a difficult one. As soon as Martin (O’Neill) rang me it made the decision easy in my head that that was what I wanted to do.
“I really enjoyed my time playing underage with Northern Ireland and I played in some big games and still enjoyed it a lot but I’ve always wanted to play for Ireland.
“That’s always been the way it’s been for me growing up so as soon as Martin rang me up there was no way I was turning that opportunity down. It was a big moment for me.
“It was great to hear him mention me at the press conference that time and he was at a couple of the games. I think one of our European games he went to but it was great to hear him speak about me in that way it certainly gave me a lot of confidence.”
After making his international intentions know, Duffy came under some criticism from Michael O’Neill with the Northern Irish boss outlining that he “wouldn’t be a big loss” for his side.
The 24-year old, who was keen to stress that he enjoyed his time playing for Northern Ireland at underage level, explained that he has not spoken to Michael O’Neill since, but the Northern Irish managers’ comments do not bother him.
“I haven’t spoken to Michael but I think the situation is done now. I didn’t hear those comments but I don’t really mind. it’s just done now.”
Duffy will return to action with champions Dundalk when the Airtricity Premier Division begins in three weeks time and the 24-year old outlined that despite the loss of Stephen Kenny, the Lilywhites’ preparation is going excellently.
“Yeah, the preparation has been brilliant so far. It’s great to be back, to be honest, the break is quite a long time but it’s really been going great so far everyone has come back in great nick and pre-season has been tough but good and we’ve got our first game coming up on Friday so we’re looking forward.”
“Coming back from the break without Stephen was a bit strange, it is a bit weird but it’s been brilliant so far everyone’s enjoying it a lot and Vinnie and John (Gill) have been brilliant and all the coaching staff have been brilliant so far.
“We’ve always been a tight group and we’re keeping the same style with Vinnie and Higgins and John Gill has obviously come in too so it’s been really good for us. “