Saturday 19 January 2019

Murphy calls on Carlow to keep standards high

Carlow captain John Murphy. Photo: Sportsfile
Carlow captain John Murphy. Photo: Sportsfile

Ciarán Gallagher

Carlow captain John Murphy insists the Barrowsiders will have to maintain their recent shooting standards if they are to get over Laois at the third attempt on Sunday.

Turlough O'Brien's emerging side take on their neighbours for the third time this season this weekend in the Leinster SFC semi-final, but Carlow have momentum as they come off the back of a couple of impressive provincial performances against Louth and Kildare.

The Barrowsiders' counter-attacking tactics have provoked much analysis, but their shooting against Kildare was particularly impressive as they racked up 2-14 without kicking a wide.

"It (no wides against Kildare) is an unreal statistic, really," said Murphy.

"Against Louth we hit seven wides in the first half alone, and in the league final I don't know how many wides we hit, but it was a lot and about three or four dropped short as well and we missed goal chances.

"So when you look at our form, it's not as if our form had been great.

"I'd imagine Laois will do exactly what they tried to do in the league final, they mirrored our defensive game-plan and went defensive themselves," continued Murphy.

Murphy has soldiered with Carlow for more than 10 years and the Grange clubman has seen plenty of bad days, including an infamous 28-point loss to Meath four years ago and he admits that there were times he considered walking away.

"I'd like to say there wasn't, but you would, especially when you've dark days there and you've been hammered and people go back to the club," said Murphy.

"I was living in Dublin at the time, I was in college and then working there, and it's hard work to motivate yourself."

The Carlow forward pinpointed 2016 as a turning point with O'Brien putting structure around a panel that has changed little in terms of personnel.

"If you were to compare both teams from that day to this, not a whole lot has changed, really," he says.

"Maybe lads have got a bit older and management has changed, and we're more mature and we have more belief, but it's hard to believe (their improvement)."

Irish Independent

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