‘We’re delighted to get the result’
WHILE the play wasn’t always wonderful, Wicklow manager Seamus Murphy was a happy man after Saturday’s victory over Mayo. The team entered the Christy Ring campaign in a different place from twelve months ago, both in terms of physical preparation and the mood within the camp.
The squad has endured some fragmented preparation since their last league match in March with the majority of the squad was on the treatment table at one stage or another.
“I’m delighted with the result, absolutely delighted. I suppose when we started the Christy Ring last year we came in off the back of good league form when we got to the league final. We came in off some good performances.
“This year was a worry because we didn’t have that this year, alright we played well but we didn’t get where we wanted to get to. Mayo went on and won and today was going to be a huge test and we’re delighted to get the result.
“Andy would have been injured and that curtailed his training and Warren would have been injured too, that’s the first bit of hurling Warren has done in three or four weeks, he could only do a bit of ball work. There were a few other lads injured there along with some of the subs and that would have determined whether they were first choice sub or second choice. We’re delighted given that situation.”
He mentioned Warren Kavanagh’s ability to perform so well without training.
“He was very, very good. We pushed forward, we didn’t try to defend too much, and a lot of the times he was isolated one on one. It’s curtains if he loses the ball ten or fifteen yards from goal. He took it on very positively with no game time in the last few weeks and he had a brilliant display there.”
Overall there is room for a lot of improvement in the team’s performance though Murphy does highlight how difficult the last couple of months have been to train cohesively.
“There were a few misdirected passes and a lot of times you’ll pay the price for that. A few times in the first half had a few balls been intercepted we could have been opened up for a goal or two. We’re working on that but we’ve found it very hard to get on the pitch. Six or seven weeks ago, and even more recently, we had no pitches with the weather.
“Every club and county is probably the same but Ballinakill was a swamp and we had nowhere with a proper surface to play fifteen on fifteen. We went through all that with the bad weather and when the pitches dried up we had a lack of proper challenge matches because April was a club month. And now the county is back none of the strong club teams would take you on because they wanted to have a break themselves because they mightn’t play again for ten weeks. At least we’ve got this win and got over this hurdle.”
Even if the team could play better the level of performance was still good and puts the team in good stead for the rest of the Christy Ring Cup.
“We would be happy with our performance, okay we lapsed out of the game for a few minutes at the end of each half. But they put some lovely play together and took some lovely scores. That’s a positive to work on. It’s the first time that forward line has come together, Mikey Lee is back with us three or four weeks and PJ Nolan has joined linked with us and that’s their first competitive game.
“The two lads has added a scoring flair to the forward line and we have a few more lads injured for today and Padraig Doyle is out through suspension. Those lads will be fighting for a place and that strengthens our panel. We’re looking forward to move on here.”
Wicklow travel cross country to Roscommon at the weekend as firm favourites. They were beaten heavily by Kildare last weekend and played in Division 3A in the league having been relegated from Division 2B last year. However Murphy is certain that Roscommon will throw everything at Wicklow given they are at home and defeat would knock them out of the championship running.
“We’ve got to go there with the right attitude, hopefully some of the injuries will have progressed. If results go a certain way the group could come down to points difference and Kildare put up a massive score today so we’ll have to push on and try to win the match and try to win it by as much as we can.”
The Wicklow hurlers ahead of their clash with Mayo in Joule Park, Aughrim, last Saturday. Photos: Joe Byrne
Wicklow’s Andy O’Brien gets away from Mayo’s Conor Daly.
Wicklow boss Seamus Murphy was a happy man after the win.