ACTION MAN Diarmuid Duffy is pictured in action for Mayo during the All-Ireland Minor Football Championship last June. Pic: Sportsfile
A busy year for Diarmuid Duffy’s continues this week
TOMORROW (Wednesday) afternoon, Diarmuid Duffy will go again.
The 17 year-old Leaving Cert student lines out with Ballinrobe Community School against St Colman’s College, Claremorris in the first round of the Connacht Post-Primary Schools Senior ‘A’ football championship.
It’s the latest entry in his jam-packed 2022 diary.
Duffy, one of the most multi-talented teenagers around, has had a hectic year already.
He’s been juggling Gaelic football commitments with the Ballinrobe Under-17s, Under-19s and the Mayo Minors; along with competing at national and international level in the Javelin with Lake District AC; while also playing some basketball with both the local club and school in his spare time.
Now though, his only focus is on playing Senior ‘A’ championship football with the friends he’s made in Ballinrobe Community School.
Starting this week.
“Preparations have been going well,” he told The Mayo News.
“We’ve had a few wins, a few losses, and we’re on a learning curve. We’re trying to implement some new tactics and that’s not going to happen overnight.
“We’ve three games in the [Connacht Championship] round-robin but all our focus is on the first game on Wednesday, we haven’t thought ahead of that.
“A win there would set us up for the year.
“The ideal scenario, we can get to a Connacht Final if we work hard and work together.”
Hard work is nothing new to Diarmuid Duffy.
His appetite for it, not to mention his athleticism and skill-set, was one of the reasons why Seán Deane appointed him joint captain of the Mayo Under-17s last season.
Duffy led by example as Mayo won a Connacht title and reached the All-Ireland Final.
His performances saw him selected on the Under-17 ‘Team of the Year’.
But after such a long season already, you wonder what is motivating him less than a month out from Christmas Day?
“I see it as an opportunity to keep improving my game, and that’s what I want to do all the time,” he replies. “It’s a platform for me to improve my game and bring in the knowledge that I got from playing with Mayo to help the school team.
“I’m looking forward to it. It’s a different challenge to playing with the inter-county team.
“You’re playing with lads from different clubs and there’a good feeling then when lads come together and play well together.
“The whole thing probably isn’t as serious either, which might be a good thing,” he smiled.
“There’s always a bit of messing going on, but that’s to be expected with a school team.
“Last season didn’t go as we planned, we got knocked out in the first round,” he added.
“It didn’t feel like it does this year, the group maybe didn’t want it as much as we do this year.”
All going well, Diarmuid Duffy hopes to be in UCD studying Veterinary this time next year.
A few months into Leaving Cert, he’s already identified ‘time management’ as being a key part of trying to balance his sporting commitments with his study schedule.
“We got knocked out of the basketball this week, up to then I had athletics, basketball and Gaelic all on in the week so trying to organise your study times around training times is key,” he explained.
“And to make sure that you’re actually working when you’re up in the room, and not dossing!” he smiled.
“I’m trying to get into a routine now where I’d come in, leave the phone downstairs and just start studying. But when you have training that doesn’t always work — you won’t get in until 6pm and your plan goes out the window.”
Diarmuid still makes time for a few games of pool with his younger brother, Sequoia, who is studying for his Junior Cert, during their respective study breaks.
And there is a chance he could be called up by the Mayo Under-20s next season, although he thinks ‘it’s a bit of a long shot this year’.
In the meantime, he’s getting ready for a crack at St Colman’s this week with further group games against St Jarlath’s and ‘The Bish’ from Galway to come in the new year.
Diarmuid Duffy wouldn’t have it any other way.
“All the way up we’ve probably been on the wrong side of a lot of close games against Colman’s,” he reflected. “Hopefully we’ll put that right this time.”
Connacht PPS Senior ‘A’ FC
Ballinrobe CS v St Colman’s
Wednesday, November 30
Flanagan Park at 12 noon