Monday 10 December 2018

'It was disappointing'

Murphy laments difficulties for preparations

Wicklow hurling boss Seamus Murphy. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Wicklow hurling boss Seamus Murphy. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Brendan Lawrence

Seamus Murphy and his management team watched on powerlessly last Sunday afternoon in rural Ballycran as his hurlers capitulated in worrying fashion to the sharp men of Down in the second half of their NHL division 2B clash.

Seen by many as a pivotal game in this league, a competitive first half showing couldn't mask the fact that all was not well with the Wicklow outfit and the reality began to become blatantly obvious in the second period where the home side bagged 1-08 without reply as the visitors visibly wilted.

Murphy was disappointed with the result and feels that there are a number of factors that may have caused the poor performance.

"We went up to try and get the win and it was disappointing. We didn't get off the bus at all really. Ok, we matched them in the first half, there was only one point between us at all times nearly but we were still struggling in all areas and you couldn't see where the boost was going to come from for us. There was nothing to suggest in our play that we could go on from the first half and win.

"We discussed the whole situation prior to the match, how difficult it is to win in Ballycran and the likes. But, listen, we wouldn't have been happy with the Armagh game either.

"That was a very poor standard game. They were down a number of their players in Bray, there might have only been two or three regular starters on the team. We were sluggish, we conceded to penalties which Bob (Fitzgerald) saved but they should have been scored," he added.

When asked about the reason for the sluggishness in the two games in the league so far, Seamus Murphy said there were no real excuses but that there could be a number of factors contributing to the situation.

"Maybe the fact that we were in the Kehoe Cup and Walsh Cup," he began. "Then there's the weather. Our preparations have been totally hampered by the weather. We had two practice games called off because of it. We were due to play UCD but the game was called off because of fog. Then we went to play Meath and that was called off because of the snow. That game was of hughe importance to us in terms of our preparations.

"We're trying to train in Ballinakill but the conditions are atrocious and you can't prepare for first touch hurling. It's not easy to get grounds from clubs.

"The Kehoe Cup had a lot of substandard teams this year. Last year there were some very good college sides and we had some cracking games.

"And then on top of all that we are very depleted with players only starting to come back now.

"You know, you can't just switch this on overnight. We have Danny (Staunton) and Christy (Moorehouse Snr) just back. We're still missing Ronan Keddy and Eamonn Kearns. It takes more than a week or two to switch this on," he added.

Another factor that went against Wicklow was the boggy pitch in Ballycran.

Murphy recalls going up there in 2005 with Wexford and barely escaping out of there with a three-point victory.

The Rathnure man was very keen to get back to training on Tuesday night with the Wicklow hurlers as they look to get their league campaign back to winning ways when they face Donegal in Aughrim in two weeks. Donegal defeated a weakened Derry last weekend.

"We have three games left and we need to go and win all three games.

"There are ways we can qualify if we don't win all three but we want to win all three games. We're not looking at anything else," he said.

Wicklow People