Sunday 18 August 2019

Kerry defenders wanted to prove a point - Murphy

Kerry's Paul Murphy. Photo: Sportsfile
Kerry's Paul Murphy. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Paul Murphy has acknowledged that Kerry's defence felt they had a point to prove in Sunday's final Super 8s game in phase one.

Kerry shipped three goals to Cork in the Munster final, having conceded the same number in the league final against Mayo, embellishing commonly-held views that their defence was their weakest link and that they couldn't win an All-Ireland title with the current personnel and structure.

Murphy said he hasn't heard the criticism directly but has got "vibes".

"It is a cliché that you don't listen to it and you don't read it, and I honestly don't," he said. "But you can get the vibes off people. You'd meet someone in work and they'd say, so and so was over the line there in what he said. You are looking at him and you don't know what the person said. But you get the vibes off people that there was a bit of criticism out there.

"It is natural enough as a group of backs that you want to prove a point. A pat in the back is six inches from a kick in the backside so you can't be looking at what people are saying and writing about you."

Murphy acknowledged their defensive effort still has room for improvement. "Obviously, we were better against Mayo. We probably conceded a bit too much at the end. But we were tighter to our men, there was a bit more aggression on the ball outside coming in. Even if there is five per cent improvement in all of those things, it can make a big difference."

Murphy said their Killarney record - 30 championship games unbeaten over 24 years - was never a collective motivating factor but admitted it was something each player would have been individually conscious of.

"It wasn't mentioned as a motivator. I think there is a feeling that nobody wants that run to end on their watch. It wasn't plastered up on the walls or anything like that, but individually, they'd take a bit of pride in keeping that going for another year."

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The Rathmore man feels the Super 8s format, which rewards provincial winners with a home match first, is an improvement.

"Last year, we were playing a provincial winner in Croke Park, Galway. And we never recovered from that (defeat). That was our summer over. Now, I'm not saying this is the making of our summer. It is one win in a mini-league. But it gives you a good foundation to build on and go with.

"In hindsight, it was a very tough run of fixtures for us. After Galway you were out of the frying pan into the fire going up to Clones a week later."

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