Mur­phy con­fi­dent his Wick­low U-21s can de­feat Roscom­mon

Bray People - - SPORT - CONOR HAT­TON All-Ire­land U-21 B pre­view

WICK­LOW set off on their trail for the Un­der-21 B All-Ire­land hurl­ing crown this week­end as they take on Roscom­mon in Pearse’s Park, Ark­low at 3 pm on Satur­day af­ter­noon in the quar­ter-fi­nals.

It’s a crown that Wick­low man­aged to win back in 2015 and af­ter hav­ing a suc­cess­ful year with the se­nior hurlers man­ager Séa­mus Mur­phy will be out to match the feat of two sea­sons ago.

It’s a task that the Wex­ford man ac­cepts will be a dif­fi­cult one as he ac­knowl­edges that over the last cou­ple of years Wick­low have had lit­tle or no suc­cess at Mi­nor level. How­ever, Mur­phy says he has a team which is driven and hard-work- ing and will give the Rossies a right crack in Ark­low on Satur­day.

“We came to­gether as a team seven or eight weeks ago and to be fair the lads have all put in a mighty ef­fort. Ob­vi­ously when you’re try­ing to train when the club sea­son is in full flow and a lot of our lads would have dual com­mit­ments as well it can be a chal­lenge but we’ve trained every Mon­day night and the ap­pli­ca­tion from ev­ery­one has been bril­liant.

“A lot of lads would be com­ing to train­ing hav­ing played a tough match on a Satur­day or a Sun­day and maybe are a bit tired but ev­ery­one re­ally has put their best foot for­ward.

“We’ve played four chal­lenge games since com­ing to­gether and we’ve learned a lot from them and in fair­ness our ap­pli­ca­tion in all the games was very good. We had two good tus­sles with Pat’s se­nior team which we lost nar­rowly and then had good wins over Glenealy In­ter­me­di­ates and Bally­bo­den’s se­cond team on Mon­day night.

“We ro­tated the team around so all the lads got a fair chance to stake their claim and we feel we have a fair idea now of the 15 that will line out on Satur­day. It’ll take a squad ef­fort though so the lads on the bench will have just as big a role to play.”

Mur­phy says that the bank of knowl­edge from his right hand man Michael Neary has also been a great tool to have when as­sem­bling the team.

“Michael knows Wick­low hurl­ing in­side out so to have his knowl­edge of dif­fer­ent play­ers across the coun-

ty has been great. We have play­ers from a good spread of clubs across the county and he would’ve known how each of them was de­vel­op­ing and get­ting on with their re­spec­tive clubs so it’s in­valu­able ad­vise to have re­ally and Michael has played a very im­por­tant role in the team.”

Wick­low will prob­a­bly go into Satur­day’s match against the West men as slight favourites con­sid­er­ing they have home ad­van­tage but Mur­phy is well aware that a mighty chal­lenge awaits.

“We cer­tainly will be go­ing with a one match at a time mantra and won’t be look­ing past Roscom­mon. Like our­selves Roscom­mon might not be con­sid­ered a hurl­ing heavy weight but they cer­tainly have some very good hurlers and have been liv­ing in the shadow of Gal­way’s suc­cess over there so they’ll be fully de­ter­mined to come down to Ark­low and top­ple us.

“We have a few in­juries to con­tend with as well so we re­ally will have to bring our A game if we’re go­ing to stand a chance.”

Wick­low will be with­out the ser­vices of Eoin McCor­mack and Carnew’s Andy Hughes, who picked up an in­jury against Glenealy in the Se­nior cham­pi­onship, while Bray shot stopper Cor­mac McNally is out with a longer term in­jury.

“The lads that we lost will be a blow but there’s no doubt that we have play­ers who will be chomp­ing at the bit to come in and show what they can do.

“Just on be­half of me and all the play­ers and man­age­ment I’d like to wish Cor­mac (McNally) a speedy re­cov­ery as well. Cor­mac was part of our panel and would have been strongly con­sid­ered for the goal­keep­ing po­si­tion. Un­for­tu­nately he picked up a se­ri­ous in­jury in a club match a few weeks back and has been hos­pi­talised since so we can only hope that he’ll re­cover and be back on a hurl­ing pitch soon but he’ll cer­tainly be on our minds on Satur­day so hope­fully we can pick up a win for him.”

Mur­phy ac­knowl­edges as well that the state of un­der-21 hurl­ing in the county will have a big bear­ing on how the Se­nior team fair in the fu­ture.

“I think it’s mas­sive to de­velop the play­ers so hope­fully some of them will go on and add some­thing to the Se­nior panel in the fu­ture. This year we had three or four lads on the cur­rent un­der 21s who were on the se­nior team and prob­a­bly the same num­ber again who were on the panel at some stage.

“I know from my pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence of manag­ing the Wex­ford un­der-21s back in 2001 and 2002 that win­ning two un­der­age ti­tles pro­pelled a lot of those lads to go on and do well at Se­nior, in­clud­ing win­ning the Le­in­ster ti­tle in 04 so I think it’s very im­por­tant that we’ll help play­ers de­velop pos­i­tively and make the tran­si­tion onto Se­nior level.”

“It’ll be a big task on Satur­day but I think it prom­ises to be a great game and I’m con­fi­dent that our lads can do the busi­ness. Hope­fully we can get as many peo­ple in Pearse’s Park at 3pm on Satur­day as it’d give the lads a great boost”.

Wick­low’s Padraig Do­ran, left, and Padraig Doyle, cel­e­brate af­ter vic­tory over Meath in the All-Ire­land un­der-21 B fi­nal of 2015.

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