Tuesday 20 February 2018

Barry-Murphy: Cluxton's game-changing advances inspired Rebels to make most of 'phenomenal' Nash

Cork manager Jimmy Barry Murphy has given Anthony Nash licence to push up and convert long range frees
Cork manager Jimmy Barry Murphy has given Anthony Nash licence to push up and convert long range frees
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Jimmy Barry-Murphy believes Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton has done as much as anyone to shape the way management teams address tactics and innovation in Gaelic games.

In his time away from management, Barry-Murphy took note of how central Cluxton has been to the shift away from conventional thinking, giving everyone else the confidence to be innovative.

When you're in charge of a team and you see an advantage, you have to use it," said the Cork manager.

Thus Barry-Murphy has given licence to Anthony Nash to push up and convert long-range frees to great effect.

"Stephen Cluxton changed the whole scenario of goalkeepers staying back, and by winning the All-Ireland with the kick he took, it probably changed everyone's thinking," he said.

"Now every 'keeper is up taking '45s'. It has changed the mentality of people. What you have, you use. And Anthony has a phenomenal shot. Why wouldn't you use it?"

Hurling is strewn with managers who haven't cut it second time around, not just with their own county. So Barry-Murphy knew the risks when he stepped back into the hot seat two years ago and, with the landscape as it was, he accepted that a repeat All-Ireland title during his second coming was a more distant prospect.

With departures, refusals and defections before a ball was pucked this year, that prospect had become even more remote.

"When you're involved in Cork, you're always dreaming of finals," he said. "But I would be telling lies if I said at the start of the year that I was thinking of finals.

"I didn't think that far ahead. I was just thinking firstly of respectability and then kicking on to the next level so we would be able to go out any day and compete with the likes of Kilkenny, Tipperary and Galway.

"I wouldn't be cocky enough to say we were dreaming of All-Ireland final days. We certainly weren't."

When they lost the Munster final to Limerick (0-24 to 0-15) in July, his confidence took a hit.

"The Munster final was a setback. And I certainly didn't think we could be in an All-Ireland final after that," conceded Barry-Murphy.

He acknowledged there was criticism from within the county, but Barry-Murphy has always felt that despite results going against them in league and championship, there had been progress.

Beating Kilkenny and Dublin franked that belief but didn't offer him any sense of vindication.

"I felt all the time we were making progress and I would have felt through all our league games that we were making excellent progress," he said.

"As regards the criticism, I think the people who know hurling knew we were making progress. We are after bringing in a lot of new young players, some of whom had not played at this level before, and they are adjusting very well to it.

"The win over Kilkenny was the fillip we needed. I think the county needed it as well because until then I don't think you are sure as to what progress you are making."

Barry-Murphy feels the margins between Cork and Clare are small and both teams have the right age profile to embrace the final without fear.

"When I was 19 and I was going up with Cork I didn't feel any fear whatsoever. I loved every minute of it and I'm sure for the young players in every county now, it's the exact same.

"But the longer you get into your career... I remember playing in my last final (1986) and I was a nervous wreck before the match. I knew I was coming towards the end and that it mightn't happen again.

"That is the human factor that everyone has to deal with."

He admits Cork rode their luck against Clare in their previous championship meeting when they defeated the Banner 0-23 to 0-15.

"Certainly in the first 10 minutes against Clare we did not play well. If they had taken their goal chances it would have been a different game.

"But we responded very well after that initial shaky period. We were lucky to get away with that – there is nothing between these two teams."

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