Damien Duff hits out at Karl Sheppard's 'lower than low' criticism of defender Ledwidge

Duff was angered by Sheppard’s name-checking of the young defender after Shels’ 3-0 loss to Finn Harps.

File photo of Shels manager Damien Duff.
File photo of Shels manager Damien Duff.
Image: Ben Whitley/INPHO

DAMIEN DUFF ISSUED a full-throated defence of his defender Kameron Ledwidge in the wake of Shelbourne’s surprise 1-0 victory away to Sligo Rovers last night. 

Dan Carr’s penalty sealed an eye-catching victory for Shels, away to a side who began the night unbeaten and second in the league. It was a vital win for Shels, coming off the back of a wretched 3-0 reversal to Finn Harps at home immediately prior to the international break. 

Speaking to his club’s in-house media after the game, Duff referenced criticism made by former Shelbourne striker Karl Sheppard in the aftermath of said Harps defeat. Speaking on RTE’s soccer podcast, Sheppard critiqued Shels’ style of play, making reference to defender Kameron Ledwidge, a young defender who has returned to Ireland following a stint at the Southampton academy. 

“If I was an opposition manager, I’d say let them play out from the back and after one pass go and press them, because Ledwidge on the left side of the back three gave it away three or four times in a row that all led to huge chances for Finn Harps”, said Sheppard.

“They didn’t end in goals, but it spreads panic among the back three. I’d be very worried for them. At time they look very good, the pitch at Tolka Park at the moment doesn’t help them, but they just seem so open at times. Especially when they are trying to play out and lose it.”

Duff was angered by the name-checking of Ledwidge. 

“I have to mention Kameron Ledwidge, for me he was top class tonight”, said Duff. “He is playing in a position he is learning day by day. I pick up an article two weeks ago, some ex-player referencing him, name-checking him. He’s a 20 year old coming back from England, trying to rebuild his life and his career. To name-check him was, I thought, lower than low.

“I won’t name-check the ex-Shelbourne player who was having a pop off Kam – one of our players who we care deeply about – but I’ll namecheck Kam as he was brilliant. Yes he is a work in progress in that position but he was world class tonight.

“For me he is an eye-catching individual. I know a lot of players in the league want to get to England. Well Kameron Ledwidge is one who can go back to England. He doesn’t need to be reported on when he’s 20, so young, trying to rebuild his life. I thought it was poor…he knows who he is. 

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“He’s unbelievable, he probably has the best left foot in the league. People think he’s slow, he’s probably the quickest player in the league. I’ve said my piece. It angered me, it angered the squad, it angered the staff. I’ve done punditry and I’ve probably hammered lads in the past, but not a lad who has come back at 20, trying to rebuild his life.” 

Meanwhile, Duff said he told his players that the Sligo game wasn’t a must-win game, but a “must-have-a-reaction” game. 

“They certainly didn’t let me down. Amazing energy, enthusiasm, desire. That’s why Friday two weeks ago was such a disappointment and such a shock to us, the staff. The fans were probably going away a bit rattled by it, but what they saw two weeks ago wasn’t them.” 

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Gavin Cooney

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