WHEN you mention stars of ladies football they don’t come much bigger than Juliet Murphy.
The former Cork captain is now a TV pundit and will be one of the analysts for TG4 again this year.
Speaking ahead of the start of the championship Juliet said she would love to be out there kicking a ball around for an hour or so and just forgetting about everything.
Asked how the present squad, with a number of young players coming through and the fact Cork haven’t won the All-Ireland since 2016, compares to when they broke through she said:
“I suppose it’s well documented now our success that started in 2005 but the previous year we felt we were unlucky to lose to Mayo and we learned a lot from that day.
“We had a good mix in the squad of young and old, even though looking back we weren’t that old, it was more experience really. Then we had a number of girls coming up from underage who had won a lot of titles and maybe had a more winning attitude that we may have had as older girls.
“You could say that element is in the Cork squad now as well. Obviously, Dublin have raised the bar another notch over the last few years, but I don’t think Cork have been that far away from Dublin over those years either.
“But it’s very different this year and it’s very hard to know what teams have been able to do with Covid restrictions and I think also that players are under a bit more pressure, for a number of reasons, and that will be evident for all taking part in the championship.
“There are a lot of concerns around playing and I am sure that will have an effect on players this year. I presume Cork have been doing A v B games and their preparation is as good as it can be coming into the championship.
“Kerry and Cavan face off before Cork play, but I don’t think that will bother them in any way. But I do think it’s been a hard task for managers this year to try and get things right. It has been a long season in some ways and coming into the winter it’s going to be a bit more difficult to get things right.”
Juliet is a teacher in a primary school in Crosshaven and said she is enjoying this away from the game.
“It is stressful in lots of ways but then we close the door and get on with it and forget about Covid and it’s great. The kids have been brilliant and I am just enjoying teaching, enjoying the kids and being in as safe an environment as we can be.
“But I was texting Eamonn Ryan about it during the week and I said I would give anything to be running after a ball in the current climate. That whole sense of mindfulness that sport is.
“I think it must be such a release of frustration and anxiety and you get that with sport. I don’t envy the cold season, I would much prefer to be playing in the summer but I am sure they don’t mind and it must be a great feeling to be out playing at the moment.
“But my time is gone and at times it almost feels like it was a different person when I look back as so much has happened since then. It’s somebody else’s dream now to be winning championships.
“Since I have had children my attitude to sport has changed and it has highlighted to me the difficult of females staying involved in sport or even keeping up to date with what is going on in matches. I am sure when the kids get a bit older and hopefully will be involved in sport that I will get back in again.”