independent

Monday 24 June 2019

Murphy and his troops ready for Tribesmen

Emma Gallagher

Sligo captain Niall Murphy said the wait is finally over for their Connacht Championship semi final with Galway this Sunday and the whole team is ready for the challenge.

"There's not long to go now and we've had a good few weeks since the league of preparation. We played a number of challenge games too, we played Down there a couple of weeks ago and that went well for us.

"A lot of lads who had injuries are coming back, Keelan Cawley picked up an injury at the beginning of the National League and was not available for much of the league which was a huge loss, great to have him back. Paddy O'Connor took is back and Luke Nicholson too who should feature at some stage in the game which is a boost too," the Coolera/Strandhill man said.

In terms of looking at Galway's performance in Ruislip, the captain said it was a hard game to look into.

"London in fairness to them gave them a good rattle and I suppose it's hard to view the Galway performance. Maybe there is a little bit of complacency in these type of games.

"In saying that, London are very well set up and a decent side. Galway have had a couple of injuries they've had the Corofin lads back now a couple of weeks which is massive for them."

Murphy said looking back on Sligo's league, it was by no means an easy campaign for the Yeats men dropping to Division 4 but the side can't dwell on that either and instead focus must be on their big Championship game this Sunday.

"With our league campaign the positives was that there was a lot of new lads getting a chance, the younger lads, which in other years they might not have. So that will hopefully stand to them and many of them made their debuts so that will give them confidence as well."

Lady luck too wasn't always on Sligo's side during the National League as Sligo narrowly fell short on some occasions. "We had a good few injuries and in fairness I think we were unlucky with some of the sendings off. In the last game against Offaly we were down 10 lads. You need a bit of luck too in these games."

Since the league finished Sligo have been regrouping and focusing entirely on the challenge this Sunday. The captain says the mood is good and the players are working hard.

"We've had a good few weeks of preparation and had a training camp last weekend in Sligo which was great. We had 2 good days at that camp and it was nice to get that.

"We are all looking forward to Sunday, it's these Championship days that you look forward to back in October or November."

Another plus is having Markievicz Park ready after its extensive make-over which began last July.

"It's brilliant having Markievicz read, we haven't had much use of it yet but we're looking forward to being back there it's another boost to us.

"It's where we want to be playing and no disrespect to the other county grounds but having our home games in Markieivicz is special. We hope now that a lot of spectators will come out and support us too, there will be a lot travelling from Galway as well."

The Coolera/Strandhill man said being asked by manager Paul Taylor to captain Sligo was an honour. "It has been extra special being captain, it was a huge privilege when Paul asked me at the end of last year. It has its positives and its negatives but I'm really enjoying it. It would be great to get a couple of results to go with it. Getting relegated in the league was not the stat that you'd want as captain but hopefully we can turn that around," Murphy added.

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