Harry hopes for good Tipp bat­tle

Wick­low boss feel­ing con­fi­dent

Bray People - - SPORT - DANIEL GOR­MAN Sports Re­porter

PRO­MO­TION will be the sole aim but not the sole fo­cus for Harry Mur­phy as he takes his troops to Tip­per­ary on Sun­day.

The Gar­den County men will need to over­come the table­top­pers and then pray that Antrim up­set the odds against Clare to send Wick­low up. How­ever, if that idyl­lic sit­u­a­tion does not come to light, Mur­phy feels that he can take so­lace from his side’s strong fin­ish to the sea­son, which should set them up nicely for a crack at the cham­pi­onship.

Water­ford were the lat­est side to fall foul of Wick­low’s late pro­mo­tion push, with two pow­er­ful Seanie Fur­long goals the cat­a­lyst for the win.

“It was a good win”, noted Mur­phy. “We haven’t been beaten eas­ily. They’ve al­ways been tight af­fairs and it was tight un­til the last 15 min­utes on Sun­day.

“But we could’ve had a bit more of a lead at half time if we’d have taken our chances. It wasn’t to be and when they got back with us to within a point, it was a bit scary but the lads fin­ished off very strongly. I think the fit­ness won in the end, we ran out com­fort­able win­ners in the end.”

Fur­long grabbed the head­lines for his dou­ble, de­spite strug­gling in the build-up to the match with an an­kle in­jury. There were sev­eral other per­for­mances that caught the eye; es­pe­cially that of young Kevin Mur­phy.

“Kevin is com­ing on leaps and bounds. He’s def­i­nitely es­tab­lish­ing him­self on the team, which is good from a Wick­low point of view that there’s younger play­ers com­ing through and re­ally putting a stamp on things.

“Seanie’s been do­ing those sorts of things for a while. It wouldn’t be any­thing we wouldn’t ex­pect from Sean. Sean, on his right (foot), he’s one of the best foot­ballers around. He fin­ished very well. He fin­ished his two goals; took them very, very well. It was a huge game for him.

“Kevin (Mur­phy) and Padge (McWal­ter) and Dean Healy worked very, very hard all through be­cause Water­ford are a very de­cent side. They’re a big strong team, a big phys­i­cal team, so we had to work very hard to get the re­sult we wanted.”

The pleas­ant con­ver­sion be­tween the Wick­low People and Mur­phy on Mon­day evening could have been dras­ti­cally dif­fer­ent, had it not been for a heroic block from full back Damien Power. The Rath­new man’s in­ter­ven­tion was prob­a­bly the dif­fer­ence be­tween win­ning and los­ing and it didn’t go un­no­ticed by his man­ager.

“I thought our back­line had a rea­son­able game as well. We snuffed out a lot of their threat. Damien got a mar­vel­lous block in at one stage. (Robert) Lam­bert made a cou­ple of good saves, (Ciaran) Hyland I thought had an ex­cel­lent game – one of his bet­ter games to date.

“I think that (the goal Power pre­vented) would’ve put them ahead and in­stead of that there was a four-pointer (four point swing) be­cause we went straight up the field and got a point off it. It was vi­tal – a vi­tal block. He had to do it be­cause he’d got com­pletely caught out of po­si­tion when the ball went over his head so it was vi­tal that he got back. But how he got back to it – he must have made up five or six yards on your man be­fore he got the shot away. It was ex­cel­lent. It was a great lift for the team.”

Wick­low’s faith is now out of Mur­phy’s hands. All he can do is get them over the line against Tipp and hope for a favour from Antrim. The wily tac­ti­cian is al­ready be­gin­ning to plot for Wick­low’s next chal­lenge and no mat­ter what hap­pens this weekend, Mur­phy will have his charges ready for the cham­pi­onship when it comes around.

“Water­ford drew with them in Tip­per­ary. That would give us hope go­ing down there. They might have im­proved since then but we have to be go­ing down with con­fi­dence; there’s no point go­ing down with any­thing other than a win – we have to win. We’re very pos­i­tive af­ter the last two re­sults. It’s been a while since a Wick­low team beat Car­low by the score we beat them by. We went to Antrim (and won) and we had a bit of a wob­ble there in the mid­dle and let our­selves down against Leitrim. Fair play to the lads though, they’ve re­sponded very well and they’ve come back and got two great wins over the last cou­ple of weeks.

“It’s league foot­ball, you never know (what could hap­pen). There’s been a cou­ple of crazy re­sults. Who’s to say what could hap­pen? Antrim don’t want to be at the foot of the ta­ble – no county team want to be down there so I’m sure Antrim will do ev­ery­thing in their power. I don’t think Clare are as good (as people think), they beat us but we played with 14 men. I think if we’d had the full com­ple­ment down there that day, we could’ve got a re­sult. I’d be hope­ful but we can’t worry about the Clare –Antrim game, we just have to win our own game and then what hap­pens af­ter that hap­pens.

“We’ll have enough to be do­ing to try and beat Tip­per­ary. They’re top of the di­vi­sion. If ev­ery­thing goes well for us, it goes well for us but it’s more im­por­tant for us to fin­ish off with a good per­for­mance head­ing into the cham­pi­onship.”

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