Dundalk winger Michael Duffy is finally ready to answer Ireland’s call after his transfer of eligibility from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland was cleared at the weekend.
The 26-year-old can now be called upon by his former club boss Stephen Kenny if required after being denied potential previous international caps having been previously called up by Northern Ireland for a World Cup qualifying game against the Czech Republic in 2016 – a game in which he later withdrew from the squad.
There had been strong rumours of a call-up for Duffy under Martin O’Neill towards the end of 2018 but he was blocked from doing so with paperwork still an issue when Kenny took charge of the senior team from Mick McCarthy last year.
In November Kenny confirmed he would have called Duffy up for a squad only for the issue.
He said: “I would have called up Michael Duffy from Dundalk as well except that there’s an issue with his paperwork at Fifa. But for that he would have been called up.”
The fact that the league here only starts on March 20th doesn’t bode well for Duffy potentially receiving a call-up for the World Cup qualifier double header away to Serbia on March 24th and at home to Luxembourg on March 27th but a friendly against Qatar on March 30th could be a good option for Kenny to have a closer look at the player he signed for Dundalk from Celtic in January 2017.
The Derry man, winner of the PFAI Player of the Year award in 2018, has previously been capped by the Republic of Ireland at U-18 level in 2012 and also has caps for Northern Ireland up to U-21 level.
Mick Fairclough in 1982 was the last current Dundalk player to receive a senior international cap but, regardless of Duffy’s situation, that looks set to change in the coming months with new signings Sonni Nattestad and Raivis Jurkovskis current internationals for the Faroe Islands and Latvia respectively.