Fraggie: Hard work done by Rebel Óg is now starting to pay off for Cork

Fraggie: Hard work done by Rebel Óg is now starting to pay off for Cork
Kieran Murphy scoring a vital goal for Sarsfields when they beat the Glen in the county final in 2014. Picture:: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

KIERAN ‘Fraggie’ Murphy is on the other side of the white paint now after spending years inside it as a Cork senior hurler of considerable stature.

The former captain of the team is now a key part of John Meyler’s management team and when the call came to join that backroom team there was no hesitation on the part of the Sarsfields club man.

“Well, I suppose Pat Ryan had me well warned beforehand from last year and stuff like that.

“It is certainly very time-consuming but it’s fantastic, it’s very enjoyable so far but it is certainly a lot more time-consuming than it was with the Cork U21s.

“There’s no comparison really, I suppose I would have known John (Meyler) when I was minor and he was a selector in 2001 and he would have coached me in Cork IT.

“I was with him in the U21s last season so it was a kind of natural progression that I ended up here." 

Things did not go as well as the management might have liked in the national league, a sort of mixed bag but there were positives too, according to the former star.

“I suppose there was a lot of focus on the first game in terms of Kilkenny, it was at home under lights on a Saturday night and there was a great buzz and the win there was great.

“Then we went up to Wexford Park, played well in the first-half and then went very flat in the second and that carried through to Ennis where we were terrible in the first-half and then put in a really strong display in the second.

“We were showing kind of glimpses and I felt that we were improving every day but the performance wasn’t consistent.

“We played reasonably well in the relegation final, the penalty kind of kept Waterford in the game but, thankfully, we saw it through.’’ 

On the subject of consistency, both from game to game and within games, he believes that it will be vital maintaining it a lot more over the course of the next couple of weeks when four major assignments must be negotiated.

“Yes, in a few league games there were long periods when we didn’t score at all. We created chances but we just were not taking them.

“This championship will be over very quickly and it’s really a case of you need to perform on the day and every day.

“You need to take your chances because you won’t get a second one and from the middle of June you could find yourself watching it on TV." 

The margin for error, he believes, will have to be kept to a minimum because of the fact that so little divides any of the counties.

“There will be two Munster counties gone in June and if you were to look at it and throw everything into the basket you would say that the five Munster teams are up there, in the top eight teams and you will lose two of those.

“It’s an interesting championship, it will take time to get used to and you will have to learn quickly from game to game and make sure you are making whatever you need to make and stuff like that.

”It’s a big change for the GAA because you will have two of the bigger teams gone in the middle of June." 

He believes too that they will have to make home advantage count in the games against Clare and Limerick.

“That will be crucial, you will have to perform in your home games. We start with Clare, that’s massive and it’s important for getting momentum going and getting your confidence levels up." 

One of the priorities for the new management team was to add to the number of the younger generation that Kieran Kingston introduced last season.

“Certainly, the work at underage level, minor and U21 too although we have had no success, I think it’s starting to reap a reward now.

“I think that we are now starting to see the early days of Rebel Óg with fellows coming through from that.

“You had the four making the breakthrough last season and adding a couple of more to that has been great, getting in six or seven new guys who will be competitive and either playing or giving you options off the bench.’’

First up it’s Clare and Murphy recognises the potential in their team.

“They seem to be a different team this time, even from the start when they went to Boston, they seemed to have a different focus.

“They played a very consistent team in the league and got rewarded, beaten by Limerick in a 65 competition.

“If they get a run on you and let them play they can do a lot of damage.

“You have to influence your game on them, that’s the challenge, get your key players on the ball because if the likes of Colm Galvin, Tony Kelly, Peter Duggan run riot, it’s going to be a long afternoon."

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