Ea­monn com­pli­ments Casey and the team

Bray People - - SPORT - WIL­LIAM O’TOOLE sports Re­porter

THERE ARE few people in Wick­low more qual­i­fied to talk about hurl­ing than Ea­monn Mur­ray.

In a ca­reer that spanned more than half a century, Mur­ray played in 12 All-Ire­land fi­nals, win­ning six, five with Lon­don and one with Wick­low.

But as he freely ad­mits, the last of those and the first with Wick­low in 1971 is the one that means the most to him.

“I’d been away in Lon­don for years so to come back and win on for Wick­low was spe­cial, def­i­nitely the high­light of my ca­reer.”

As well as en­joy­ing a suc­cess­ful club ca­reer in Lon­don, Mur­ray also won two Ju­nior ti­tles with his na­tive Avoca and those two wins were 50 years apart.

How­ever, the game of hurl­ing was dif­fer­ent back then and he be­lieves it was much more phys­i­cal.

“I don’t think there is the same pas­sion for hurl­ing in the county as there was when I was grow­ing up.Back then you’d rarely go any­where with­out a hur­ley and ball, they were dif­fer­ent times back then though.

“The game was much more phys­i­cal back then, its a lot more skil­ful now and it is a lot faster as well,” he said.

With Wick­low hurl­ing on the up, I had a chat with Ea­monn about hurl­ing in the county now and about Wick­low’s prospects in this year’s Christy Ring Cup which be­gins on Satur­day.

“We are go­ing well but our one weak­ness is in the for­wards, the for­wards now aren’t as tall as they were in my day, we miss the likes of Ea­monn Kearns. That is not Casey’s fault though.

“Casey and the team have the lads go­ing well though. There is a great be­lief in this squad. They are a very skil­ful bunch of play­ers.

“There is an in­ter­est in Wick­low hurl­ing, a be­lief in the game and that’s a good thing,” he con­tin­ued.

That brought us onto Satur­day’s game and Wick­low’s chances in this year’s Christy Ring Cup.

“We have the beat­ing of Kil­dare, We are fit and rear­ing to go. The lads are very fit. I think the cur­rent team is more skill­ful than the team we had.

“Casey and the team have done a great job with them. They be­lieve in them­selves,” he said.

“We had an ex­cel­lent league cam­paign. It was a great per­for­mance against Down. We showed great heart that day. We hurled well and de­served to win. The win­ning of the game for us could be in the mid­dle of the park. It won’t be easy, that’s for sure. They are a good team. Get­ting on top in the mid­dle of the park will be cru­cial for us, as will a good start. We have a great chance on form though and con­fi­dence in high and that will count for a lot”.

Be­fore I fin­ished I had to ask him what he thought helped him play for so long. He played his last game for Avoca when he was in his late 60s

“I didn’t drink or I didn’t smoke and I al­ways kept my­self busy,” he said laugh­ing.

Ea­monn Mur­ray gives us his thoughts ahead of the Christy Ring Cup clash.

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