Damien Duff a leading contender for Shelbourne job after Ian Morris departure

Damien Duff a leading contender for Shelbourne job after Ian Morris departure

Damien Duff is a leading contender for the Shelbourne job after Ian Morris’s departure was confirmed.

Ireland legend Duff is already the club’s U17 boss and Mirror Sport understands the Pro Licence holder is in the frame for the first-team job.

Duff, 42, has previously worked as a coach with Celtic and Ireland but stepped down as part of Stephen Kenny’s staff in January.

It is understood that Shels won’t hang around in appointing a successor to Morris once he leaves after Friday’s final league game against UCD.

Just three weeks ago, the 34-year-old led the Drumcondra side back into the top flight by clinching the First Division title.

Morris has not outlined his reasons for the surprise announcement but – in a statement – said the decision came with ‘a heavy heart’.

Ian Morris

But the process to find the club’s next manager is already well underway with Duff a live front runner while Dundalk boss Vinny Perth was also linked in some quarters.

Shels chairman Andrew Doyle said: “It’s with great regret that we announce that Ian Morris has decided to step down.

“Ian is and will always be a Shelbourne legend. His record as manager speaks for itself.

“From a standing start three years ago, with no prior management experience, Ian has won two titles in three seasons and has had an extraordinary win record of 67%.

“Ian’s professionalism, people skills, commitment, work ethic and integrity are of the highest calibre. Ian will always be welcome back at Tolka Park.”

Doyle added: “I know I speak for everyone at the club when I wish Ian the very best in the future and continued success in the game.

“Our final game of the season at Tolka Park this Friday is the ideal opportunity for us all to express our appreciation to Ian and celebrate his achievements.”

Morris left fans guessing as to why he is leaving after Friday’s final league game of the season against UCD.

But he said in a statement: “It’s with a heavy heart but the time has come for the club and myself to part ways.

“I would like to thank Andrew Doyle, Joe Casey, Dave O’Connor and the board of directors for the opportunity to manage this fantastic club.

“The hard work and effort of the volunteers at the club is absolutely mind blowing, and the club would not function without you.”

Morris continued: “To all my staff an

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