Saturday 21 April 2018

Kilkenny subs should be 'insulted' by weak panel talk - Murphy

Cats’ defender Paul Murphy. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cats’ defender Paul Murphy. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

It seems that scarcely a week can roll by without Ger Loughnane's now infamous comments about Kilkenny being a "functional" team making it into the discourse surrounding the Kilkenny hurlers.

For Cats' defender Paul Murphy, those sort of comments are just a part of life when you've been at the top table for so long. If anything, they can be used as fuel for his side.

The suggestion that the current panel is weaker than what is gone before may hold weight in terms of what Kilkenny's current reserves have achieved in comparison with many of their predecessors.

But Murphy is happy enough if Kilkenny's panel members are put out by that sort of talk.

"If I was a player on the Kilkenny panel and I haven't started a championship match and people are saying the panel is weak and we've no-one on the bench, I'd be disappointed in one of our players if they didn't take that as an insult because people are effectively saying you're not good enough or not as good enough as was there before, or not good enough to play against Galways and Tipperarys and they're relying on the boys who are starting," Murphy explained, at the launch of the Electric Ireland minor championships.

"Lads in the first place should be pushing for a starting jersey and if they're not they should be taking that as an insult to themselves.

"I wouldn't like a young fella coming into our dressing room after hearing that and being perfectly fine with it."

Brian Cody's selection policy suggests that he is content to use only a select few right now. Across five championship games in 2015 and 2016, Kilkenny haven't used their full complement of five subs.

"If you look back as far as 2006/2007, it's very much the same," Murphy countered.

"He has a way of approaching management, which I don't look at. You prepare yourself for match-day and focus your own mind on your own job be it as a sub or if you're starting.

"But you don't think of what's the angle for the management or what way they're thinking because that's too many things to be thinking about. Brian has his way and it's obviously very effective. I genuinely don't question it. Whatever way Brian and the management think, they have more experience than I do in that position and as long as I'm starting I'm happy enough."

Kilkenny face Galway in the Leinster final on Sunday week in the latest instalment of a rivalry that has ratcheted up a notch since the Tribesmen's introduction to the province.

Galway are pushing to bring a Leinster game to their home patch and Murphy would welcome the chance to play championship out west.

"It's great to play in Croke Park, Portlaoise and these places but I think every county would like to play real competitive championship matches on their own pitch.

"League matches are great but championship is where it's at. The last few years, we played Tipperary in Kilkenny and they've been brilliant matches. So I understand Galway completely.

"Again, of course, I can understand the GAA will be saying, 'Well, you're playing in Leinster so you're going to have to come to Leinster'.

"But certainly there's an argument from Galway's point of view and I understand that they want to play at home because it would be great for them not to travel all the way up to Dublin to play a match and play down below in Salthill (instead) and bring a massive crowd just for the experience alone."

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