Celtic youngster Barry Coffey on Cliftonville, Damien Duff and being ready

By Euan Davidson

February 20, 2021

Fair play to Celtic youngster Barry Coffey.

While so many academy players are unwilling to leave the comfort of Lennoxtown, the Irishman has made a bold choice. The Dankse League came calling, and Coffey joined Cliftonville until the end of the season.

Highly-touted by those in the know at Celtic, Coffey is a midfielder with excellent potential. He does, however, train at a side whose main strengths are in the middle of the park. Rather than sit and wait, he’s gone to a very competitive, physical league.

Ahead of Cliftonville’s clash with Larne [Goal], Coffey was full of enthusiasm for his loan side and his first-team prospects. In an interview with The Irish News, Coffey said:

“I just wanted to experience first team football, learn and play in the men’s game. Going from Academy football to men’s football is a big jump. Of course, Academy football is about winning but it’s also about developing. When you come to men’s football it’s all about winning. That’s what I love and what I want to experience.”

Coffey had been included in Celtic’s first-team “bubble”, with other academy players who could slot into Lennon’s side if needed. The Tipperary-born youngster said:

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“I was very fortunate as Celtic kept a few of the younger reserve players on in the first team bubble. If we were needed we’d be able to play.”

Celtic youngster Barry Coffey / (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Celtic youngster Barry Coffey: on Damien Duff and making an impact

Coffey was particularly delighted by Celtic signing Damien Duff as a coach, not long after the youngster moved to Celtic.

While Duff since left to take up a role with the Republic of Ireland, Coffey suggests the Irish legend made a significant mark while at Celtic.

Coffey said:

“Damien Duff was an idol of mine growing up but as a coach he is one of the best I’ve worked under so far in my career.

“He’s just world class, he has standards and stardust. There is just untold learning from someone like him. He’s done it all in the game. He’s been a massive influence on my career.”

That massive influence has given Coffey confidence that he’ll make an impression while playing in the North of Ireland. The midfield maestro is yet to make his debut, but there’s a strong sense that’ll come today against Larne.

Coffey added:

“I had a chat with my manager and I’m at the age where I want to play first team football.

“I think I can hold my own fairly well in the Irish League.

“For me, it’s about showing my ability and adapting to the physical side of it and seeing how the league works and go back to Celtic not as a new player but a better player. Hopefully I can get closer to the Celtic first team and give the manager a headache as I suppose that’s all you can do. But I want to try and bring success to Cliftonville while I am here.”

Hero: Irish legend Damien Duff / (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Commendable attitude

We’re hoping that talented youngster Barry Coffey can be part of Celtic’s future.

With the tutelage of his hero Damien Duff still ringing in his ears, an impressive stint in the Danske League could cause the next Celtic manager a real headache.

With Ewan Henderson, compatriot Luca Connell and Kerr McInroy waiting for opportunities in Celtic’s first-team, it’s a crowded field. And that’s not even listing the likes of Broony, Callum McGregor, Ismaila Soro and David Turnbull, amongst others.

Still very young, Coffey realises he’ll need to hit the ground running at Cliftonville. But his attitude suggests he has everything in his arsenal to do so.

READ MORE: A hotly-tipped SPFL star is likely to arrive at Lennoxtown soon.