Sport Hurling

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Barry-Murphy challenges lesser lights to 'do a Walter Walsh'

Jimmy Barry-Murphy has challenged his players
Jimmy Barry-Murphy has challenged his players
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

CORK boss Jimmy Barry-Murphy has thrown down the gauntlet to his players, saying he will strongly favour training-ground form when he goes to pick his team for Saturday's All-Ireland hurling final replay against Clare.

The Rebels legend has cited the example of Kilkenny's Walter Walsh and the massive impact he made on last year's All-Ireland final replay against Galway.

He has pointed out to his panellists that a relative unknown player can similarly grasp his opportunity now and make a name for himself in a replayed All-Ireland final.

"We have emphasised to the players that the sessions (training) are very important and that we are going to pick players who are showing form," Barry-Murphy revealed.

The Cork manager said he believes this is particularly important at this time of year because of the length of time the finalists have been on the road this season, pointing out that "players' form usually tapers off at this stage".

"We saw a situation last year where Walter Walsh came into the replay for Kilkenny not having featured at all," he said.

"I certainly had never seen him play at senior level for them and he had a huge performance, was man of the match for Kilkenny in the replayed final.

"That's something we've spoken to the players about and we would hope that a lot of players on our panel would respond accordingly."

Barry-Murphy has admitted that he and the players have been catapulted into "new territory" because of the replay and that they are depending on instinct to gauge their preparations properly.

"None of us have been here before and I don't know what's right and wrong, you just have to judge it yourself, feel how players are going, how they're looking and responding in training and take it from there," he admitted.

"The three-week gap is the biggest problem, it's long and especially after we had such a massive build-up (to the drawn game).

"We had a four-week break after beating Dublin, which was quite long for us.

"We had one week of club games but it was four weeks in total and now you're facing another three-week break."

But he said the one good thing about the replay is that it will make the All-Ireland final rematch much more of a game now rather than an occasion.

"There's a lot of different issues involved in the build-up to a final – getting gear, the razzmatazz of a function after the game and all that kind of stuff, a lot of side issues that have to be dealt with.

"We were all in the same boat and it certainly does take away a lot of issues that go with being in a final. It starts being a game now and is more relaxed in that way."

Saturday's final has an unusual 5.0 throw-in and Westmeath's James McGrath has been appointed as referee.

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