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Ryan Byrne/INPHO The winger after last night's game.
# first born
'The best couple of hours of my life' - Fatherhood gives Dundalk winger Duffy a new perspective
The Derry native spoke about the recent birth of his first child after last night’s Champions League qualifier first leg with Qarabag.

A LARGE COFFEE was the order of the day for Michael Duffy after Dundalk salvaged a Champions League lifeline against Qarabag.

Well, it was actually closer to 11pm when the winger pulled into a garage near Oriel Park last night with a friend to get his caffeine fix ahead of the two-hour trip back home to Derry.

It is a daily journey he has become used to since becoming a father for the first time last week. His partner, Emily McCarron, gave birth during extra-time of the first qualifying round tie with Riga and Duffy watched the resulting penalty shootout on his phone with new born son Eli asleep beside him.

“I’ve been up and down since we had him,” Duffy revealed. “That’s been really tough, not being with him and Emily every day. You want to be there to help but you’re not, and it is really hard.

Luckily she has plenty of support up there with our families. At night it’s a bit mad, I’ve had a couple moments already at night where I’m holding him and thinking ‘this is crazy, he’s mine’. Everything has happened so quickly it’s hard to take it all in.

“It’s indescribable how everything happened. You couldn’t write it, really. It was mad. It was the best couple of hours of my life. I’ll never forget it.”

Duffy almost created another special memory when he bore down on goal towards the end and had a chance to clinch a 2-1 lead for the return leg in Baku next week.

Michael Duffy and Simeon Slavchev Ryan Byrne / INPHO Duffy and Simeon Slavchev of Qarabag. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

The 24-year-old winger admitted he saw his name in lights and had visions of recreating the famous cradling celebration by Brazil’s Bebeto at the 1994 World Cup.

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“I had it in the back of my head. I was ready to do something like that so I was disappointed not to do better with that chance because it could have been a huge goal. It was in my head all night. It just could have topped off an unbelievable week to score, but we’ll take that result.

“I’ve tried to go across the keeper with the shot. I’ve sort of had to slow myself down. I don’t know if I was running that quick with it or the pitch sort of slowed it up, I should be doing better. I’ve tried to go across him and ended up hitting it straight at him. We had three or four huge chances in the last 15 minutes.”

It’s advantage Qarabag in the second leg courtesy of their away goal and Duffy added: “They’re a brilliant football side. They can keep it very well and some of their attacking players are great on the ball.

We did grow into the game so that will give us confidence going over there because it was disappointing to concede so early. It sort of killed the game. We responded well and that’s what we needed to do.

“I know they had a couple of great chances in the first half but they scored from a set play and that was the one thing we said before, ‘do no concede from a set play’. We set up well in the second half and if we take that into next week, obviously it will be a tougher game, but we can cause them problems.”

Duffy kid Twitter / Dundalk FC Twitter / Dundalk FC / Dundalk FC

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