Thursday 22 March 2018

Murphy scheming to shackle Dub attack

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

MATTIE Murphy returns to Croke Park tomorrow with another group of young Galway hurlers keeping the production line flowing.

But while there are those who would argue that the presence of the minors and U-21s in All-Ireland finals is a tonic to the woes of hurling out west, the prolific minor manager is not a believer in the theory that the rising tide will lift all boats.

Twice manager of the senior team and touted by many -- although he has ruled himself out -- as the prime candidate to restore glory at the top level, Murphy has been managing Galway teams since 1989 and hasn't lost the hunger.

He is, however, concerned by what went on at senior level this season and, while he knows more than any the depth of talent that he has helped produce by winning five All-Ireland minor titles, the Gort man reckons the problems that saw Galway well beaten by 14-man Dublin and Waterford this summer can be rectified.

"I think in most counties the senior team is the flagship team and if it's going badly, then, in the bigger picture, it doesn't really matter if we are going well at underage," he said.

"A lot of people are extremely disillusioned with the state of hurling in this county. The roots seem to be fine, but there's still an air of negativity about Galway hurling, not just within the county, but nationally.

"But I wouldn't be worried about these lads when they get to senior. Galway would have been in a bad position in 1984, we had a disastrous year. Three of our teams were well beaten in Thurles on the one day. Minor, senior and U-21 and that was an all time low, that time.

"But we went on to reach the All-Ireland final in 1985, '86, '87, '88 and '90. So, a team can come up pretty much overnight.

"Tipperary were no world beaters three or four years ago, but they turned it around, added in a good few of their minors from 2006 and '07 and all of a sudden they're being hailed as one of the teams of the decade.

"It doesn't take that long to turn the thing around, so I wouldn't be worried about that."

Tomorrow they face Dublin, a team whom they came up against in Parnell Park in a friendly back in spring and went back down the M6 with an idea of what they had to do.

Ciaran Kilkenny may only be a teenager, but the dual star -- who almost single-handedly dragged the footballers into their minor final with a virtuoso second-half display against Galway last weekend -- hit the net a few times that day as the goal-hungry Dubs found their rhythm.

Croke Park in September will be a different story, Galway have to time their run differently to the Leinster teams who have to be ready for the early summer skirmishes. The Tribesmen must time their peak to perfection.

Murphy would have watched Kilkenny and Co put six goals in the Waterford net last weekend.

Tomorrow's mission is simple -- cut off the supply line.

"They got six goals against us that day, all in the second half. We were a bit weaker than we should have been. Sunday will be a totally different ball game.

"If you want to stop a forward line then you cut off the supply of ball. You have to upset their rhythm, their half-back line and their centre-field.

"If they're struggling there, then all of a sudden no forward line is going to score without a supply of ball.

"If you can limit the supply of ball going into them then your job will be more than half done."

Irish Independent

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