Sunday 4 December 2016

Cats have taken time to adjust to loss of big names - Murphy

Published 07/07/2015 | 02:30

Murphy: Training going well
Murphy: Training going well

On Sunday, the traffic wasn't moving on Clonliffe Road with the Kilkenny kit van among those waiting on traffic lights.

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In the front on the van sat the Bob O'Keeffe Cup. One opportunistic supporter seized the chance to grab a photo with trophy while the traffic snarled up ahead.

Kilkenny had secured the trophy for the 70th time in familiar fashion. When the questions were asked, they came up with the answers even after a winter that saw one of the game's greatest defenders retire.

And while filling JJ Delaney's boots was the most pressing issue for Brian Cody, it was speculated too that their famous in-house games could lose an edge.

The logic seemed solid. After all, their dressing room shipped some big characters with even bigger medal hauls.

However, the intensity in training remains, defender Paul Murphy says, though he accepts that they struggled initially to cope with such a significantly different squad.

"The rest of the lads who are there are very aware that those lads are gone," explained the Danesfort defender. "We know from the last few years how intense it was and if it is anyway off the lads make it their business to raise it to that level.

"Look, Brian (Cody) has been at it so long that when it is going right he knows what it looks like.

"It has been hard to get it back to that level but we have got it to that level. And we are happy that training is going the way we want it to be going.

"You are losing Tommy Walsh, Brian Hogan JJ Delaney and these lads but they had to start somewhere as well and learn the tricks of the trade too. You still have Jackie Tyrrell, Eoin Larkin, Richie Power and Mick Fennelly and these lads.

"So we do have a lot of lads who are there and know what it is like and know what the standard should be."

Murphy is back in his more familiar role at corner-back and he was full of praise for the job Joey Holden did at full-back as he steps into Delaney's shoes.

"I'm happy once I'm playing," he offered. "When JJ left it was always going to leave a void there. I think Joey stepped in today and played a brilliant match.

"I'm used to playing in the corner at this stage and I was eager to get back in there and get a foothold again but once I'm playing - be it corner-back or corner-forward - I'll be happy."

Kilkenny's concession of 2-15 pleased Murphy in light of how the Galway forwards had been moving against both Dublin and Laois.

But Murphy didn't rule out coming across the Tribesmen again before the summer is out.

"They might be only peaking in the next while and they could come through the Qualifiers with some serious performances," he added.

Irish Independent

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