With his immediate future secure, Dundalk winger Michael Duffy has set his sights on bringing the League of Ireland Premier Division title back to Oriel Park.
The 26-year-old put pen-to-paper on a new contract on Sunday and after a turbulent 2020 league campaign that saw Dundalk finish in third place, he said that Dundalk were determined to wrestle the crown back from Shamrock Rovers.
“We finished 2020 on a high by winning the FAI Cup and that was a big factor in my decision,” he told dundalkfc.com. “There were a few months last year when things weren’t good at Oriel Park but some of my best memories from being at the club came from the way we finished the season and that’s what I want again.
“I’ve loved every minute of it at Dundalk since I arrived five years ago. I joined the club to win leagues and cups and qualifying for the group stages in Europe was a big goal for me. We’ve done that and now the big goal is to win the league title back this year.”
Duffy became the fifth member of the squad to sign a new contract over the Christmas and new year period and with sporting director Jim Magilton now in place, more reinforcements have started to arrive with Albanian goalkeeper Alessio Abibi unveiled on Tuesday afternoon.
“We have a brilliant squad and a lot of the lads have obviously signed back and there’ll hopefully be more arriving n the weeks ahead,” said Duffy.
“Jim is involved now and I’m sure he’ll add some good players to the squad. He had me with the Northern Ireland U21s for a few years so I know him well and I love working under him. He played a big part in my decision and I’ve no doubt he’ll be great for the club.”
After coming so close in 2020, Duffy is also eyeing international recognition this year. Former Lilywhites boss Stephen Kenny wanted to include the Derryman in his Republic of Ireland squad for the game with Bulgaria last November but the call-up fell through because his international transfer from Northern Ireland to the Republic had still to go through.
“It was great to hear Stephen say that I was in his plans and I would have been in the squad if the documents had gone through,” said Duffy.
“I just need to build on that now with my performances this year. Stephen will not pick me if I’m not playing well so I need to be at the top of my game with Dundalk to get into the Ireland team.”