After 11 seasons with Connacht, Mayo native Gavin Duffy’s contract was not renewed this year and after a fifteen-year absence he is back training with the Mayo Senior Football squad. The 32-year-old has previously played minor with Mayo and was part of the team that lost the All-Ireland minor final to Down in 1999.
The Mayo County Board last night released a statement saying that Duffy has in fact joined with the squad. Mayo manager James Horan said that Duffy is a ‘professional athlete who brings great leadership and presence to the squad.’ The statement continues that the county board ‘are delighted to see a player of the calibre of Gavin Duffy linked with the Mayo Senior Football Team and will hopefully remain a permanent presence in the Mayo Senior Football Team setup.’
While some commentators may say that Duffy is the wrong side of 30 to be going back to playing GAA, it is quite often the opposite. When it comes to GAA, age is really just a number. Alan Brogan and Henry Shefflin are two prime examples of players continuing to play in their thirties. More importantly they’re still playing well.
Coming from a full-time professional setup to a part-time amateur setup will be a change for Duffy, however, his presence both on and off the pitch will be of benefit to the younger players on the squad.
As a former rugby fullback, Duffy is no stranger to jumping for the ball. At fullback, midfield or full-forward the aerial ball should be no problem for the Ballina native. Duffy will also be well able to commit to a tackle and will be well used to clashes from rugby.
Overall Duffy going to Mayo is a positive for the county and for the squad. Mayo’s next outing is on June 8th against either Roscommon or Leitrim, until then we wait and see. Will Duffy continue to train and possibly make an impact for Mayo?
Amy Forde, Pundit Arena.