Gavin Duffy (sportsman)
|Full name||Gavin William Duffy|
|Date of birth||18 September 1981|
|Place of birth||Ballina, Ireland|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Rugby union career|
|Irish name||Gaibhin O'Dubhthaigh|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
Gavin Duffy (born 18 September 1981) is an Irish sportsman. Duffy is a former international rugby union footballer who primarily played at full back. He last played professionally for Irish provincial side Connacht Rugby, in the Pro12, and represented Ireland at full international level.
Educated at Cistercian College, Roscrea and NUI Galway (where he studied commerce), he first played for Ireland at Schools level in 1998 and at Under-21 level before he was brought into their senior side during the 2000–01 season. He is also a graduate of the sports college, Setanta College.
Duffy played for the amateur clubs Ballina RFC, his hometown's side and Galway city-based Galwegians RFC, before playing for his native province of Connacht. Early on there were rumours that he would play with local club Corinthians, however provincial bosses would not allow it. Duffy first played Celtic League rugby with Connacht in 2001, and played seven times in the 2001–02 Celtic League and six times in the 2001–02 European Challenge Cup, scoring one try in the league. In the following season, he played twice in the league and five times in the Challenge. During his time at Connacht, Duffy attracted the attention of larger sides. He declined an offer from Munster, as they had already signed the former All Black, Christian Cullen, who played the same positions as Duffy.
Move to Premiership
Duffy moved to the English club Harlequins from Connacht in the summer of 2003. Having joined Harlequins, Duffy made his league debut for the Premiership side in a game against Rotherham Titans on 20 September 2003. He was part of the team that won the 2003–04 European Challenge Cup. Duffy scored two tries in the 1st Round rout of El Salvador. Harlequins went on to eventually face Connacht, beating Duffy's former team in the semi-finals over two legs. Duffy himself started at fullback in both the first and second matches. He also started in the final, scoring a crucial try in a single-point victory over AS Montferrand. The club was relegated in the 2005–05 season, Duffy stayed with the team as they won the 2005–06 National Division One, England's second tier league. Duffy remained with Harlequins until 2006. During his time there, he earned 110 caps, making 92 starts and 18 replacement appearances, as well as scoring 21 tries.
Return to Connacht
Duffy rejoined Connacht in late 2006, going on to become a mainstay of the Connacht team. He was named as captain for the 2011–12 season, replacing his Galwegians clubmate and fellow Ireland cap-holder John Muldoon in the role. In the 2011–12 Heineken Cup Duffy scored a try against former club Harlequins, as well as against Gloucester. He scored 4 tries for Connacht in the Pro 12, starting all 22 of their games, as well as all six of their Heineken Cup matches.
For the 2012–13 season, Duffy did not play as regularly in the same positions for the side. This was primarily due to injuries, along with the emergence of the young Robbie Henshaw and the continued use of Dave McSharry, at Duffy's primary positions of fullback and inside centre respectively. Duffy failed to play in any of Connacht's 2012–13 Heineken Cup matches, while his appearances in the 2012–13 Pro 12 went down to 16, 3 of these coming from the bench.
For the 2013–14 Pro 12 and Heineken Cup, Duffy started out the season sharing the captaincy with both Muldoon and Connacht's longest serving player, Michael Swift. However, after a poor run of form culminating in a 43-10 defeat against Edinburgh, Craig Clarke, a New Zealand native and the former captain of the Chiefs, was made Connacht's team captain with Duffy and the others continuing to "lead off the field".
It was announced in April 2014 that Duffy was one of a number of senior Connacht players that would not be having their contracts renewed and that he would leave the province at the end of the season. Duffy was one of a number of experienced players released, including the former Scotland international Dan Parks, and fellow centurion Frank Murphy.
In November 2001, he won his first Ireland A cap against New Zealand at Ravenhill and his performances for Harlequins in the 2003–04 European Challenge Cup saw him called into the senior Ireland squad for the first time for the 2004 tour to South Africa. He won his first cap on that trip when coming on as a replacement during the second test. In February 2005, he won his second cap when again coming on as a replacement against Scotland, marking the occasion by scoring his first international try. He was selected to play at outside centre for Ireland in both summer Tests in Japan in 2005, scoring two tries in the second Test.
Duffy played Gaelic football at a young age before becoming a professional rugby union player. He represented his native county of Mayo at under-age level. Duffy played in the final of the 1999 All-Ireland Minor Football Championship, where the team lost 1–14 to 0–14 against Down. The team included many players who went on to become regulars in the senior inter-county Mayo squad.
Following the end of his career with Connacht, Duffy expressed an interest in taking up Gaelic football again. Having lived in Galway during his career with the province, Duffy took up football with the local team Salthill-Knocknacarra, who he had occasionally played with during his rugby career. He was then called up to train with Mayo's senior team by manager James Horan. Duffy was reportedly a 'stand-out performer' in training and was added to the panel. Horan later said that although Duffy's skill-set was "a bit off where it needed to be", the management team were "very excited about where he is and how it’s progressing".
Duffy trained with the county squad for the remainder of the season, but did not feature in the 2014 Championship before Mayo were knocked out by Kerry in a semi-final replay. In January 2015, Duffy was named in the starting team for Mayo in a competitive game for the first time. He was named in midfield alongside Barry Moran, for the FBD League fixture against IT Sligo.
- "Gavin Duffy reportedly a stand-out performer at Mayo GAA training". The Score. 14 May 2014. Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "My Job In Connacht - Gavin Duffy, Senior Development Executive". Irish Independent. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
He studied commerce at NUI Galway…
- "Quins Have The Edge". ERC Rugby. 11 April 2004.
- "Quins Lose The Battle But Win The War". ERC Rugby. 25 April 2004.
- "NEC Harlequins Snatch The Cup". ERC Rugby. 22 May 2004.
- "Duffy named as new Connacht captain". RTÉ Sport. 29 August 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011.[permanent dead link]
- "Connacht Squad Index: Gavin Duffy". RaboDirectPRO12. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- "Player Archive: Gavin Duffy". ERC. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- "Connacht name Club Captains". RaboDirectPro12. 27 August 2013.
- "Clarke asked to captain Connacht as Mafi looks forward to return from suspension". Daily Mail. 4 December 2013.
- "Parks leads Connacht outgoings". Irish Independent. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
- "Kidney calls trio up for Italy". The Irish Times.
- "Gavin Duffy weighing up return to GAA after release from Connacht". The Score. 8 May 2014. Archived from the original on 6 June 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Mayo boss James Horan 'excited' about progress from rugby convert Gavin Duffy". The Score. 14 May 2014. Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Ex Irish rugby international Gavin Duffy set for first Mayo senior start today". The Score. 11 January 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2015.