SHANE DUFFY sent a touching birthday tribute to his late-father just over 18 months on from his death.
Brian Duffy passed away in May 2020 at the age of 53, with son Shane describing his dad as his ‘hero’.
On Tuesday, on what would have been his dad’s 55th birthday, the talismanic Republic of Ireland defender wished him a loving Happy Birthday with a heartwarming post on Instagram.
Accompanying a throw-back photo of the pair, Duffy said: “Happy birthday Daddy miss you everyday keep looking over us all ?”
The post was greeted with a deluge of well-wishing comments, with Ireland legend and former captain Robbie Keane, as well as current star James McClean both sending green heart emojis.
Duffy’s Brighton & Hove Albion teammate Adam Lallana, in addition to the club itself, offered their condolences with blue heart emojis.
Duffy’s dad’s passing and his struggle to process it had a direct impact on his fortunes on the field.
In September 2020, he embarked on a troubled loan spell at Celtic, and admitted that between his father’s death, his on-field struggles, and his inability to see his children due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it all represented a ‘low point’ in his career.
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He told The Daily Mail earlier this month: “It was hard enough dealing with what had happened to my dad but I also didn’t get to see my kids for a year because I couldn’t fly to Ireland to where they were. It was a lonely time and maybe it did affect me on the pitch.
“Things weren’t going well for the team or me at Celtic so I was probably sitting there on my own doing a bit of over-thinking and that was difficult.
“I try to take a lot from what happened. I think my biggest regret is that it didn’t go well as it meant so much for me to go there. I will probably always live with that. But I have come out the other end.
“If I hadn’t got that low maybe I wouldn’t have bounced back like I have. It was a difficult year and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
“But I am not going to sit and cry about it. I had to deal with it and I tried to do that as best as I could.”
After returning to Brighton ahead of the 2021 campaign, the Derry-native has rebounded in a big way.
He has been a major factor in the Seagulls’ bright start to the Premier League campaign, while he has returned to the kind of formidability for Ireland that has made him a firm fan favourite in the heart of the defence.