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Laszlo Geczo/INPHO Shelbourne manager Damien Duff.
# proud
'I emailed Vera Pauw, texted Áine O’Gorman, telling them I can’t wait for next summer'
Ahead of Shelbourne’s FAI Cup semi-final on Sunday, Damien Duff reveals how Ireland’s World Cup qualification captured the imagination.

GLUED TO THE television with his daughter Darcy on his lap, Shelbourne manager Damien Duff says he was filled with pride watching Vera Pauw’s Republic of Ireland team clinch World Cup qualification on Tuesday night.

The Ireland centurion starred in the men’s World Cup finals of 20 years ago in Japan/Korea, scoring in the 3-0 win over Saudi Arabia as Mick McCarty’s side made it to the last 16 where they lost to Spain on penalties.

“I was very proud (on Tuesday) night,” said Ireland legend Duff, speaking at Shelbourne’s media day ahead of Sunday’s FAI Cup semi-final trip to First Division Waterford.

Sometimes it’s hard to get your children to sit with you. My daughter, who’s 10, we sat on the couch, her on my lap, cheering on the girls.

“I emailed Vera Pauw, texted Áine O’Gorman, as I know her for a few years, telling them I can’t wait for next summer already and I hope the nation comes to a standstill.

“If I had all their numbers, I’d have texted them. It’s an amazing achievement. Everyone talks about 1990 or whatever; 2002 and the boys. Well, ‘Come on you Girls in green’. It makes me proud. I’ll be well behind them as I’m sure everyone else will be. It’s an amazing achievement.

ireland-celebrate-qualifying-for-the-world-cup Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ireland players celebrate. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

“They lead the way in every way, getting to the World Cup. The men haven’t done it in a long time.”

And Duff puts the breakthrough qualification right up there with the greatest successes in Irish sport.

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“I don’t see why it shouldn’t be at the top with the men qualifying. I’ve been big on ‘the men this, the men that’, but at the end of the day they’ve qualified.

Hopefully, the women’s game here, the WNL … all they get is expenses at the minute…on every level that’ll start to take off. It won’t happen overnight.”

Duff reserves particular praise for match winner Amber Barrett, who raced clear onto Denise O’Sullivan’s pass to take two touches before arrowing her perfectly placed shot to the bottom corner.

“Yes, a little toe-poke, not seen that for a while,” quipped Duff. “It reminded me of Romario, he had that toe-poke finish. Amazing. It was a brilliant, brilliant night.”

Meanwhile, Duff waits on two of his own chief attacking threats ahead of the visit to the RSC as Jack Moylan and Shane Farrell are in a race against time to prove their fitness.

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