Mur­phy steps down

Health is­sue and the need for change cause de­ci­sion

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE Sports Ed­i­tor

AF­TER a two-year term in charge of the Wick­low hurlers, Rath­nure’s Sea­mus Mur­phy has stepped down cit­ing health rea­sons and a need for fresh im­pe­tus within the county squad as the main rea­sons be­hind his de­ci­sion.

Two Ke­hoe Cup fi­nals, a na­tional league fi­nal and two Christy Ring semi-fi­nals were the des­ti­na­tions the former Gle­nealy man­ager took the Garden County team to dur­ing his ten­ure. Mur­phy feels that if no suc­cess has been achieved within two years then it is best for a man­age­ment team to step down and move on.

In a state­ment re­leased by the Wex­ford na­tive he claimed that his de­ci­sion to step down will ben­e­fit Wick­low hurl­ing by giv­ing fringe play­ers and older play­ers some­thing to drive for un­der new man­age­ment.

Mur­phy be­gan his state­ment by that a meet­ing had been ar­ranged by the Wick­low County Board to dis­cuss the county hurl­ing and foot­ball man­age­ment and that he had made his de­ci­sion to step down and would not be at­tend­ing that meet­ing.

‘A week af­ter we lost the Christy Ring Cup semi-fi­nal to Lon­don I was asked to at­tend the launch of the lo­cal cham­pi­onships within the county by the county board which I gladly did as it was very im­por­tant at the time for the hurlers to be rep­re­sented by man­age­ment,’ wrote Sea­mus Mur­phy.

‘Dur­ing the past few weeks I would have been giv­ing this po­si­tion a lot of thought and con­sid­er­a­tion, par­tic­u­larly as I have a health is­sue which needs to be cared for in the weeks and months ahead and, se­condly, I feel that now is the right time for Wick­low hurl­ing to ben­e­fit go­ing for­ward.

‘I’ve al­ways been a firm be­liever from my experience be­ing in­volved with teams over the years that when there is no sil­ver­ware for the tro­phy cab­i­net achieved within two years it’s best to step down and move on, even though it might be some­what dif­fer­ent at un­der­age.

‘My de­ci­sion, I feel, will help in a few ways. Num­ber one: When I took over in Oc­to­ber 2016, when we came to­gether for meet­ings and train­ing, some of the more ex­pe­ri­enced, long-serv­ing play­ers felt time was catch­ing up on them and they felt they needed to win some­thing quickly or that chance would be gone.

‘Some of those play­ers at the mo­ment would prob­a­bly be con­sid­er­ing in­ter-county re­tire­ment and a new man­ager com­ing in al­ways cre­ates a new in­ter­est, a new course of hope and en­thu­si­asm and should prompt play­ers like those to stay on be­cause Wick­low hurl­ing needs that for lead­er­ship qual­i­ties on and off the field and it also helps to keep the panel strong in depth and a guide and pro­tec­tion for young play­ers com­ing in.

‘Se­condly. For play­ers who have been on the panel dur­ing the last two years and have got lit­tle game time, it gives them new hope and con­fi­dence to get their chance to break into the team and im­press, and it also gives an op­por­tu­nity for some new play­ers show­ing form in the lo­cal cham­pi­onships or some play­ers that have been passed over.

‘I sup­pose look­ing back on the two years, first of all I must thank the people through­out the county who en­cour­aged me to take on this job and also the people who ap­pointed me and sup­ported me along the way be­cause this wasn’t the most glam­orous or ex­cit­ing job to take on see­ing as this team was in two rel­e­ga­tion fi­nals at the end of the 2016 sea­son and with no con­tin­ued flow of un­der­age suc­cess it was al­ways go­ing to be a huge chal­lenge.

‘Michael Neary came in as coach and trainer and put in a huge and end­less ef­fort from day one with the as­sis­tance of Shay Dunne as phys­i­cal trainer on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions. For the 2018 sea­son, two former stal­warts Timmy Collins and Michael An­thony O’Neill, who owe Wick­low hurl­ing noth­ing, joined the back­room team as se­lec­tors.

‘Dur­ing the two years, we wer emost un­for­tu­nate not to win some sil­ver­ware, reach­ing the Ke­hoe Cup fi­nal twice, beaten in the 2017 league fi­nal and los­ing out in two Christy Ring Cup semi-fi­nals, one of them to the even­tual win­ners, Car­low, and we were al­ways good enough to keep rel­e­ga­tion out of sight and the play­ers de­serve great credit for this in their per­for­mances. And the fact that we won roughly 18 games out of the 25 or 26 that were com­pet­i­tive speaks vol­umes for the play­ers them­selves.

‘In­juries nowa­days to play­ers are high risk and cer­tainly we had ours, too many to men­tion re­ally, which made it much more dif­fi­cult to get re­sults in cer­tain games. But through the great will­ing­ness of the play­ers to get back match fit and the char­ac­ter they showed was re­mark­able and with the work of John Coyle and his staff there was al­ways hope of re­cov­ery.

‘If you were to ask me over the two years what were the high points I prob­a­bly would say num­ber one was de­feat­ing a strong Kil­dare team in New­bridge in 2017 in the Christy Ring Cup with three out­side play­ers, no­tably David Reidy who has now won an All-Ire­land Se­nior medal with Lim­er­ick this year.

‘And an­other stand­out per­for­mance was the coura­geous and gal­lant dis­play given by the Un­der-21 team against Kerry in Thurles last year, los­ing out by three points in the All-Ire­land fi­nal and eight of those play­ers have been part of a Kerry Se­nior panel play­ing na­tional league and cham­pi­onship this year.

‘I would like to thank PJ Mor­ris­sey, out kit man, who has made a great con­tri­bu­tion to the set up dur­ing the two years.

‘Also, I would like to thank Mick Ha­gan and Dave Mur­ray in ad­min­is­tra­tion for their ser­vices, and Martin Fitzger­ald and the county board for their sup­port dur­ing that pe­riod of time. And also, thanks to WH Scott for their spon­sor­ship with­out which it is not pos­si­ble to work.

‘Also, thanks to the staff in Bal­li­nakill for their hospi­tal­ity and kind­ness and to any­one who has helped in any other way.

‘Also thanks to the GAA clubs within the county for their co­op­er­a­tion and to all the Wick­low sup­port­ers, even though small (num­bers) at times, it was al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated and par­tic­u­larly the ones who trav­elled far and wide through thick and thin.

‘I would also like to thank the Wick­low People news­pa­per and its staff for their ster­ling work and co­op­er­a­tion with their re­ports of games from week to week, and also thanks to any other me­dia com­mu­ni­ca­tion out­lets re­search­ing and pro­mot­ing the games.

‘Fi­nally, last but not the least, I would like to pay spe­cial praise and thanks to Michael Neary, coach and trainer, Timmy Collins and Michael An­thony O’Neill, se­lec­tors, for their hard work and ded­i­ca­tion dur­ing their time in­volved and I’m sure that those men will make a huge con­tri­bu­tion to Wick­low hurl­ing in the fu­ture as they have done in the past in what­ever role of duty they take on.

‘To both the Se­nior and Un­der-21 play­ers I can­not com­pli­ment or thank them enough for their ded­i­ca­tion and com­mit­ment and brav­ery against all the ob­sta­cles and also to their fam­i­lies for giv­ing them the time and space to rep­re­sent their county.

‘Also, thanks to the play­ers who came in to tri­als and didn’t suc­ceed, and to the play­ers who played in in­ter­nal matches for train­ing.

‘Hope­fully, un­der new man­age­ment, ev­ery­one re­quested will put their shoul­der to the wheel, work even harder and there’s a good chance of suc­cess. ‘I wish you well. ‘On a per­sonal note I would like to thank my own fam­ily, my wife Mar­garet, daugh­ter Brid­get, and son Fran­cis for giv­ing me the time and op­por­tu­nity to do this job which was an en­joy­able jour­ney and it was a priv­i­lege and hon­our to do it with such a fine group of people and what a pity we didn’t have suc­cess to­gether,’ he added.

Sea­mus Mur­phy, who has stepped down as Wick­low Se­nior hurl­ing boss.

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