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The former Chelsea, Newcastle and Fulham winger's comments about ending his career in Ireland are looking like little more than lip-service

DUFF UNLIKELY TO LIVE UP TO PROMISE

Shane Long's £7 million move to Hull City was the biggest transfer involving an Irish player in the January transfer window, and unless Seamus Coleman is poached from Everton, it seems that Damien Duff's move Down Under could be the most notable switch of the summer.

O'BRIEN LOOKS TO EUROPEAN 'REWARD'
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The 35-year-old has signed A-League side Melbourne City, and is now looking less likely to live up to his promise of ending his career on these shores.

In March, the winger claimed he would eventually move back to Ireland, telling Newstalk that it is "definitely on the list. I'm obviously going to move back home, I want to raise my kids in Ireland so they can see their family every day."

However, the move to Melbourne will take him over 10,000 miles from home, hinting that those League of Ireland claims might be little more than empty promises. There are few places further away from home, and the attractions of Australia may see another Irish family emigrate to never return.

Duff is a Premier League winner and a 100-time Republic of Ireland, and his pedigree would increase ticket sales significantly, but there is a slim chance that he will trade the warm sun of Australia for a rainy trip to the Brandywell.

FRIDAY CLASHES WILL SHAPE TABLE

This Friday sees first play third as Dundalk host St Patrick's Athletic at Oriel Park. The Lilywhites could open a nine-point gap over the Saints going into the mid-season break should they record a home victory, while second-place Cork City face a difficult trip to Shamrock Rovers.

The Hoops are currently fourth in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division, and know a win could take them to second, so John Caulfield's side face a difficult challenge if they are to take points in Tallaght. Should Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk both record home wins - as the bookmakers are expecting - then a nine point gulf will have opened between first and second.

Stephen Kenny's side can begin engraving their names on the title with victory this weekend, filling them with confidence ahead of the break. Aside from the points differential, a win will show all their title rivals that the Lilywhites are the force to be reckoned with this season.

MID-SEASON BREAK PERFECT CHANCE TO REST FOR EUROPE

Speaking on Goal's League of Ireland podcast, St Patrick's Athletic captain Ger O'Brien outlined his belief that Irish teams are facing a difficult challenge to succeed in Europe. He believes that improved coaching methods and better fitness will help Leagie of Ireland teams compete with their European counterparts.

"We need to make sure that the next guys coming through in the league are coached better, that they get themselves as fit as possible," O'Brien admitted.

With most European leagues not starting until the autumn, Irish players should be at an advantage due to the summer season, while the mid-season break is coming at the perfect time. The two week break should allow players to recuperate and recover from injury, meaning that the Irish teams should be fully match fit for July's European qualifying rounds.

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