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Final defeats have taught Wexford how to win, insists Roisín Murphy

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Aimee Kelly of Laois and Roisín Murphy of Wexford will do battle this Sunday in the All-Ireland ladies IFC final in Croke Park. Photo: Sportsfile

Aimee Kelly of Laois and Roisín Murphy of Wexford will do battle this Sunday in the All-Ireland ladies IFC final in Croke Park. Photo: Sportsfile

Aimee Kelly of Laois and Roisín Murphy of Wexford will do battle this Sunday in the All-Ireland ladies IFC final in Croke Park. Photo: Sportsfile

There’s a a couple of ways you can look at the Wexford ladies’ past year. The glass half-full version says that in reaching three successive finals across different competitions they are close to a breakthrough. A grain of rice could tip the scales in their favour.

Another analysis of that period could suggest that three consecutive final defeats (All-Ireland, league and Leinster) – as well as a change of management – would be enough to tempt someone to throw their hat at it.

After all, it’s only a little over a year since they conceded 11 goals and seven points to Tyrone to slip out of Division 2. But as they prepare for another shot at the All-Ireland intermediate title at Croke Park on Sunday, Roisín Murphy prefers the positive take.

“Getting there (to the intermediate final) last year proved one thing to us – that we are good enough to be there,” the Wexford skipper said.

“And I think that’s one thing we are working on this year, we got to the league final and lost that and lost the Leinster final too, we keep putting ourselves in these positions and each time we are learning. We are really looking forward to Sunday but it’s about delivering the performance we are actually capable of.”

To find that extra edge, Wexford have turned to a sports psychologist. And Murphy has hailed her impact.

“We’ve a great sports psychologist with us this year, Emma Saunders, and she is great at helping you identify the turning point,” explains the 30-year-old Shelmaliers star.

“The game against Laois where we came back, what was the positive turning point in that, what changed to go from not having a good day to having a good day? It’s always aspects of the game and it is about managing it a bit better each time you go out and then when you are slipping it is easier to catch yourself.”

Having reached the intermediate final for the second year in a row, Laois stand in their way this time, but Murphy believes they’ve learned from their final defeats.

“It’s like being punched! It genuinely is,” she says of the final defeats. “For me I know the capability that’s in the team and when we don’t deliver ... the Leinster final was different, Kildare were just better than us on the day.

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“Intermediate is so competitive this year – it’s fantastic but it takes time and energy to reset after those defeats. But I think we are taking the right things from them. Focusing on the learnings and on what we want to change.

“Bit by bit across this year our performance has changed, the way we play has changed – we are less getting caught in the loopholes that we used to if you like.

“Tyrone was a battle but we still played our football. Roscommon was the same and in the league final that is something we didn’t do. We are adding to it bit by bit and we are dragging ourselves to the place where we can deliver the performance that we want.”


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