Sunday 22 July 2018

Murphy confident Kerry have cut down on concession of scorable frees

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

Colm Keys

Paul Murphy believes Kerry have been defending better and have addressed the issue of conceding too many close-range frees to opponents.

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has acknowledged in the past that they haven't been crisp enough in the tackle and have allowed rival free-takers to amass big numbers against them but Murphy is confident they are making progress on that front.

"The free count is down and what we're really working on is tackling without fouling. Maybe in previous games we made it too easy giving away scorable frees. It is something we've worked on and it is something we've made progress on. I thought defensively, we were much better against Clare than we have been previously."

Murphy has been back as a permanent fixture in defence having had spell as a defensive half-forward and even sweeper in recent seasons.

"I wouldn't have a huge preference either way (as to where he plays). I'd be more familiar with defence, but it's nice to get a run-out in the forwards every now and then, a bit of glamour up there. I'm enjoying being in the half-back line, it's probably my most natural position," he said.

Murphy is driven by the prospect of adding to his 2014 All-Ireland medal, acknowledging that in a county like Kerry one medal "doesn't really feature."

"There are guys with eight there walking around. There's one inside in training (Mikey Sheehy), so one doesn't really register. All of us want to be adding to what we have and for the new lads especially, lads who have had success at minor level, they want to be getting the big one."

Murphy is confident that the strength of the Kerry squad has been replenished over the last six months. "It might have dipped there for a couple of years, but there's very good strength in depth there again."

The Rathmore man is not the only member of his household preparing for a Munster final with Cork this weekend. His sister Sarah is involved in tomorrow's ladies provincial final at CIT earlier in the afternoon, one of five brother/sister combinations between both games. (Jack and Meabh Barry, Paul and Deirdre Geaney, Micheál and Siobhán Burns and Kate and Tom O'Sullivan are the others.)

"They probably don't get near the same level of reward and recognition that we do," he admitted. "I see it at home, they've had a tough year of it with the Kerry ladies, so for them to get out on a Munster Championship day with a big crowd behind them (they played Waterford as a curtain-raiser to their recent Munster semi-final against Clare) was fantastic."

Meanwhile, Munster Council are confident that the crowd for tomorrow evening's final will be well in excess of the low 20,000s predicted by former Cork footballer Joe Kavanagh earlier this week.

The provincial body have said that up to 20,000 tickets had already been sold by Wednesday and that could rise to 25,000 by the end of the week before a 'walk-up' crowd is factored in.

When the sides last met in that 2014 final in the 'Páirc', the attendance was 21,028. Some 30,270 were present for the 2009 semi-final replay.

Irish Independent

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