No bigger game in Ulster this year - Duffy

Peter Campbell, Spor

Reporter:

Peter Campbell, Spor

No bigger game in Ulster this year - Duffy
Like Jim McGuinness, Damian Diver and Paul McGonigle, Donegal selector John Duffy has had poor days against Derry, especially in finals.

Like Jim McGuinness, Damian Diver and Paul McGonigle, Donegal selector John Duffy has had poor days against Derry, especially in finals.

Duffy lost the 1993 and 1998 Ulster finals to the Oak Leaf men as well as two National League finals in-a-row, 1995 and 1996.

“Those were bad days but that is in the past. Derry are a quality team with a great tradition so Sunday will have nothing to do with the past,” said John this week.

“Back then Derry were the major force and the teams I was involved with never seemed to get the better of Derry. But that’s the way things evolve; Armagh then took over and then Donegal,” says Duffy.

A great admirer of the way Jim McGuinness has transformed Donegal, Duffy says it was an easy decision to get involved when invited to be a selector.

“I have said it before, what Jim McGuinness has done for Donegal football is nothing short of remarkable.

“Myself and Jim go back a long time. Knowing him so well, it was an easy decision to get involved when asked.

“He brought Donegal from being also-rans to a place at the top table,” said John.

A talented forward, Duffy says that county football and the preparations are unrecognisable from his days playing.

“It is the same for every county. It is professional in every way except a pay packet,” said Duffy, who said that there was changes from when he started to when he finished playing, but that has been brought forward much more in recent times.

“It is really enjoyable to work with lads who are so focussed. This is a different time from my days. Back then it was old school; this is so different.”

During the National League Duffy wore the Maor Foirne bib and was asked to do quite an amount of running bringing instructions to the players on the field.

A qualified Quantity Surveyor, John in recent years qualified as a Physical Therapist, with the Emmett Technique, a gentle touch therapy, working from his Killygordon base (one of only ten trained in the technique in Ireland).

He has plenty to occupy his spare time with daughter Sophie a recent All-Ireland Irish dancing champion while Oisin and Caolan are very interested in football.

Being on the sideline and looking forward to the Ulster championship excites the former Aodh Ruadh man.

“You want to be at the cutting edge and there is no bigger game in Ulster this year; it is huge for both teams. That’s what makes the GAA so unique; you get one lash at it. It’s like the Olympics, you have to get it right on the day,” says John.

“You do your preparation; Derry will do the same. It will be one hell of a battle, but it is what we look forward to,” said John.

Let’s hope that John Duffy and the rest of the Donegal management team have a good day against Derry in Celtic Park on Sunday.