‘We have our home­work done’

Mur­phy brings Mi­nors to Meath

Bray People - - SPORT - BRIAN O’DONOGHUE Sports Re­porter

SATUR­DAY can­not come quick enough for Wick­low Mi­nor foot­ball man­ager John Mur­phy. This weekend the foot­ballers take on Meath in the first round of the Le­in­ster cham­pi­onship and the Bless­ing­ton man, who has been in­volved with a large con­tin­gent of this par­tic­u­lar squad since they were un­der-14, speaks about his team with pride, pas­sion, con­fi­dence and hope.

And why shouldn't he? With a coach­ing staff of Andy Jame­son, Martin Hamil­ton and Brian Whelan, any team would be well pre­pared and hav­ing watched this team de­velop since 2011 there's no deny­ing that John Mur­phy will have given his all for the Wick­low cause.

Meath pro­vide se­ri­ous op­po­si­tion on Satur­day hav­ing beaten Dublin in the Le­in­ster league only to be pipped by Long­ford in the semi-fi­nal.

The Roy­als are al­ways there or there­abouts at Mi­nor level and a home draw against Wick­low, in the eyes of Meath sup­port­ers, for the first round will be ab­so­lutely ideal.

Mur­phy though, com­ing from a Wick­low point of view says that the ‘big­ger’ county the­ory is a myth.

“To be hon­est, that whole thing of play­ing a 'big­ger' county is a myth, just be­cause you're born in a par­tic­u­lar county doesn't give you a god given right to be a good foot­baller, or just be­cause a Se­nior team is do­ing well, doesn't mean your Mi­nors will nec­es­sar­ily be bril­liant,” says John. He fur­thered his point too. “I mean the only dif­fer­ence is the jersey on the back of the man, this weekend one will be blue and one will be green,”.

His point is backed up by the feat of the Tip­per­ary Mi­nor foot­ballers three years ago, who are due to per­form well at un­der-21 grade this sum­mer.

While their Se­nior foot­ballers were head­ing to­wards Di­vi­sion 3 rel­e­ga­tion their Mi­nors were beat­ing all that stood in their way.

Mur­phy be­gan train­ing the Mi­nors last Oc­to­ber and he says the vast ma­jor­ity of Mi­nor foot­ballers within the county were looked at in the lead up to this year.

“I'd say 99% of the Mi­nor foot­ballers within the county were looked at, we had over 70 lads in for tri­als and games and the coaches went to a lot of the games around the county to scout lads that maybe had slipped through the net, so I'd say we have a very good panel,” said Mur­phy.

Oc­to­ber seems like a long time ago since this panel first came to­gether and they have put in some se­ri­ous hours in that time.

“We've trained three times a week since then, two mid week ses­sions and a Sun­day morn­ing ses­sion usu­ally,” said Mur­phy.

“The County Board have been fan­tas­tic, and the clubs have been bril­liant too, es­pe­cially Laragh and Round­wood, the board feeds the play­ers in mid week and re­ally looks af­ter them and those two clubs have been ex­tremely gen­er­ous to us, of­ten re­ar­rang­ing their own train­ing times to suit us, we couldn't ask for more,” said a gra­cious Mur­phy.

This Wick­low Mi­nor team have been given the works too, it hasn't all been hard run­ning and slog­ging.

“We've done strength and con­di­tion­ing with them, food, nu­tri­tion, foot­ball, all the el­e­ments that make a strong county team and we have 13 clubs across the county rep­re­sented this year, things have gone re­ally well and we're re­ally ea­ger to get out on the field in Na­van on Satur­day,” con­tin­ued Mur­phy.

A lot of Mi­nor foot­ball suc­cess, ac­cord­ing to the word of John Mur­phy, is down to be­lief, at­ti­tude and con­fi­dence.

“Mi­nor pan­els are only to­gether for a short pe­riod of time and so it's too hard to go into real spe­cific tac­tics that you might be able to work on with a team that are go­ing to have sev­eral years to­gether,” started Mur­phy.

“A lot of Mi­nor foot­ball is about con­fi­dence and that starts from the man­age­ment. They must be con­fi­dent and be­lieve in the sys­tem they are try­ing to im­ple­ment and once they are that will fil­ter through to the play­ers,” said Mur­phy,

There is a long term goal at the end of this jour­ney for John Mur­phy and whilst he is real­is­tic he is also a be­liever in Wick­low foot­ball.

“The goal for us is to still be train­ing in Septem­ber, half of these play­ers are el­i­gi­ble for Mi­nor next year and I am qui­etly con­fi­dent about Satur­day. We have our home­work done, we are well pre­pared, I'm look­ing for­ward to it,” said Mur­phy.

There are just two in­jury con­cerns ahead of the game this weekend with Dil­lon Terry and Dar­ren Walsh un­lucky to be out of the fray for Satur­day.

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