‘We train three times on the pitch, and then it’s two or three gym sessions for themselves. You are away from home six times a week, so the commitment is through the roof’
KERRY senior hurling manager Stephen Molumphy believes that a successful inter-county career now requires a six-day a week commitment, and that it was difficult initially to get the squad to completely buy into the enhanced demands on their time.
Speaking in advance of Sunday week’s Allianz League Division 2A opener against Westmeath in Mullingar, the Waterford man is thrilled with how the squad has responded to the new regime, and he certainly feels that things are going in the right direction.
“I know that I have said it before, but work ethic is everything. There are guys in here with fantastic talent, but the commitment levels have to be five or six times a week. We train three times on the pitch, and then it’s two or three gym sessions for themselves, which are recorded and sent back in. You are away from home six times a week, so the commitment is through the roof,” he admitted.
“I remember a good one from the military – if nobody is complaining, then you’re not doing your job right. There always should be someone complaining. It was different, but we set the tone, all the backroom staff, all the management. We’re there an hour before training, all the kit is laid out 40 minutes before, so the lads come, the physios are ready to go, it’s nailed out.
“Then with all the gear, the County Board have been excellent, everything has been allocated for them, green for Tuesdays, blue for Thursdays, green back on Sundays. It is just a professional set-up. The first thing we do is question ourselves. If we do drills on something, like high ball, and we go to a match, and we’re not good, then we have to look at ourselves, and go back to the players, and say we did this wrong, or we’re not communicating it.
“We will take responsibility as well. They have reacted to that, I’ll give them that, they have been positive and been vocal, and we’re trying to push on the team to be talking more. We have a leadership group of seven players and we would like to say that they rule it. Basically, if things aren’t going well in training, we’ll give them the powers of corrective action. We want them to call it more.
“It was tough at the start, definitely, but the way they have responded is brilliant. When you see new guys, under-20s, coming in the next day after winning a county title and, looking back, I wonder if I had had the commitment that they have, but, overall, I think we are going in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, on the furore that surrounded a relaxation of the hurling parentage exemption which now enables Kerry to include players from outside the county, angering the likes of Offaly and Antrim, Molumphy is adamant that everything the Kingdom have done is above board.
“Any player with Kerry blood is welcome, as long as he’s willing to give one hundred per cent, he’s welcome in this set-up. I won’t give more fuel to the fire, but I wonder would anything have been said if we hadn’t beaten Tipperary? Everything was in the rule book, and we’ll let the County Board deal with that, which they did, and I think it was answered very comprehensively just a few days ago.”
On being told that there was little to no comment on former Galway star Davy Glennon’s move to Westmeath last season, which undoubtedly played a part in their eventual McDonagh Cup victory, ironically over Kerry in the final, the Kerry manager agreed.
“Exactly. You have just made the point there.”