Damien Duff is currently blazing a trail as a perennially unimpressed pundit on RTE's soccer coverage. He usually occupies the chair that John Giles made his own for almost 28 years, the one nearest the anchor.
At the same time, Duff has been dipping his toes into the coaching business. Gilesy managed Shamrock Rovers for five frustrating years in the late 70s and early 80s and Duff has chosen to begin his coaching career at Ireland's most decorated football club.
He is already a member of the coaching staff and is involved in a backroom capacity with the first team. But he has now been offered a new role within the Rovers academy and will take over as head coach of the U15 side.
The club released a statement this evening to announce the news. They also spoke about the importance of the emerging U15 National League.
Shamrock Rovers F.C. is delighted and honoured to announce Damien Duff as our new U15 National League Head Coach. Damien is already an integral part of our first team coaching staff and he will combine his existing first team duties with his new role in our Academy," said academy director Shane Robinson.
The new U15 National League will begin in August of 2017 and further enhances the pathway young players have to our first team. We have repeatedly spoken about the importance of developing our own home grown players and the new U15 National League programme is a very significant part of our young player’s development.
Damien is one of Ireland’s greatest ever players and his vast experience and knowledge of the game will be of immense benefit to the players and coaches that work with him.
Duff returned to Dublin from Melbourne City in the summer of 2015 and played out the second half of the season with Shamrock Rovers. He made 9 appearances in total and donated his wages to charity, retiring for good at the end of the season.