Thursday 29 September 2016

Rebel boss insists there will be no 'phoney war' against Deise

Published 30/04/2015 | 02:30

Cork hurling manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy
Cork hurling manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy

Cork hurling manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy has dismissed the notion of a 'Phoney War' with Waterford in Sunday's league final, five weeks ahead of their Munster Championship meeting on June 7.

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Barry-Murphy is adamant that winning a national title is too important to the development of both teams to try to conceal anything before they meet in the championship.

Echoing his opposite number Derek McGrath's comments, Barry-Murphy says pursuit of victory in Thurles will be absolute.

"We made it quite clear from day one that we would love a National League title. None of the players in our dressing room have a National League medal. For that reason we'd like to win it. I'm sure Waterford are the same.

"I don't think there's any question of holding back. There's time after the league final until June 7 to look at your plans and the opposition."

The Cork legend feels the final fits perfectly into their plans and the lessons from last year's five-week gap between the Munster final and All-Ireland semi-final will be absorbed when they send players back to their clubs for a couple of weeks.

"After this weekend the lads will go back to their clubs. I think we all need a break. I think last year I learned that from the semi-final game against Tipperary," he said.

"There were five weeks to the All-Ireland semi-final and we possibly erred in having a complete break from a lot of club activities for a lot of players."

Being in the league final has obvious benefits. "We have found that by not being involved in the latter stages of the league, what happens is that players drift away because the club championship kicks in," the former dual star reflected. "The clubs are entitled to ask for them. It keeps us together that bit longer.

"We were in a league final a couple of years ago and we had a black-out against Kilkenny. We would be hoping nothing like that will happen again. We hope this weekend will give us the perfect platform.

Barry Murphy admits Cork "weren't ready" as a group of players and as a management team when they met Kilkenny in that 2012 decider.

"It was my first year back as a manager and we walked into the final without realising what Kilkenny would bring to the day, in relation to what it means to win a national title," he recalled. "That has been reinforced over the last couple of years, how hard they are to win."

Rupture

With Christopher Joyce on the long-term injury list with a cruciate ligament rupture, Conor O'Sullivan departing the squad and William Egan also out of the picture, Cork's defensive cover has depleted significantly, something the manager accepts.

But he still feels the squad has broadened in other areas. "I think that we have improved in that respect, I suppose you would like a bit more cover in the back-line. We have a number of young players coming through who are very promising but it takes a while to bring fellas up to this level.

"We've seen that now with Rob O'Shea, for example, this year. Rob has been around the panel for a couple of years and it has taken a while; Cormac Murphy the same. You can throw them in at the deep end but it can be a tough baptism in inter-county hurling so we're trying to balance it with when we feel guys are ready for it.

"I think the panel has developed but there are one or two areas where you'd like more cover," he said.

Their exclusive access to Aidan O'Shea since he opted for the hurlers only has brought definite improvements in his game as the league has progressed. Barry-Murphy was really impressed with his second half against Dublin.

"It is really beginning to show. In the latter stages of games he has been very influential for us and even in Nowlan Park (against Dublin) I thought he had a brilliant second half when we really needed it. He got on a lot of possession, won balls in the air which lifted the crowd, lifted our team."

Irish Independent

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