Soccer

"In the dressing room, literally!" - Shane Duffy on the unexpected joy of Lille

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

06:59 19 Sep 2019

When Shane Duffy arrived in Lille for Ireland's final group game in Euro 2016, little did he expect to be involved in one of Irish football's most famous nights.

The Brighton centre-back had been an unused sub for Ireland's first two games against Sweden and Belgium. And up to then, he hadn't made a competitive start for the Boys in Green.

His Irish career really changed that night in Lille in the must-win clash against Italy.

Speaking to Nathan Murphy recently, the 27-year-old detailed the surreal nature of that night.

"I went to the Euros just to go and enjoy it. 'I'm probably not going to play a minute here but just take it all in,'" he recalled.

Fourth Choice

"Never in my head did I think, 'I'll be playing here'. So I thought, if [Martin O'Neill's] going to make a change, it's going to be one of them and I'm obviously fourth choice."

Shane Duffy, Lille, Ireland, 2016 UEFA European Championship Group E, Grand Stade Lille Métropole, Villeneuve d'Ascq, Lille, France 22/6/2016
Republic of Ireland vs Italy
Ireland's Shane Duffy celebrates after the game ©INPHO/Matteo Ciambelli

John O'Shea, Ciaran Clark and Richard Keogh were ahead of him in the pecking order. But O'Neill clearly wanted to make a change after the 3-0 loss to Belgium.

When did Duffy discover he was due out on the pitch?

"In the dressing room... literally," he responded.

"But it was probably the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Because I didn't have time to think. [My family] didn't know until the teamsheet was out. So my Mum was like, 'He's playing!'

"We got to the stadium and had a look at the pitch first and we still didn't know the team around then. We come back in and then [O'Neill] gets everyone together and then just names it. 'Did he say me?' And everyone was coming up to me."

As he said it turned out to be, "one of the best nights of my life".

You can watch the full Shane Duffy interview above. Read Part 1 here.

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Brighton Euro 2016 Everton Ireland Lille Martin O'Neill Off The Ball Seamus Coleman Shane Duffy

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