HAVING the best backroom staff in the country creates the perfect environment in a dressing room. That is what Cobh Ramblers boss, Darren Murphy, believes will play a huge role in how well his team does next season.
Murphy took over from Stuart Ashton during the season and his interim arrangement has since been upgraded to a permanent contract, until the end of 2023.
Finishing third from bottom, on 28 points, may seem a disappointing season, but Murphy and his backroom staff — John O’Flynn, Fran Rockett, and Conor Meade — have a lot of positives to take from it and the manager is looking forward to preparations for next season.
“I wasn’t disappointed at all with the season overall, as it’s been a great journey for us and we have learned so much,” said Murphy.
We have learned things that can only be learned through experience and it will add to all our personal libraries for life: We have learned about discipline, intensity, work ethic, passion, care, loss, and resilience, and so much more.
“I have learned the importance of trust and how it needs to be earned and implemented into a team environment. All of the above, which I know will help us next season.
“I really enjoyed my year back at Cobh Ramblers and it was a huge learning experience for me, as a coach.
“Starting out with the 19s, it was great to see the talent and ability the young players have at the club.
“It’s a big commitment for these lads, at League of Ireland level, at that age, with so much going on in their lives, but their attitude to succeed is inspiring and they deserve so much more for the effort they put in and, hopefully, Irish football is working hard in the background to provide this for them,” Murphy said.
“Being asked to take the senior role during the season is always a difficult situation in a club, for all involved, but we all have been involved in football long enough and know this happens at times.
"It is one of the best experiences I have had in football, if I’m being honest, to see the growth of all our players and backroom team over the last few months. We have had ups and downs, as you do in the game, but the environment the backroom team created, and to see the players improve and fight, week in week out, is something money can’t buy.
“Those memories are now stored forever and I hope the players have learned how discipline and work ethic help you succeed in the game,” Murphy said.
“Joining the squad mid-season doesn’t affect the way we do things, but it takes time to implement everything I have spoken about and that is why pre-season is so important to teams, as you can work on creating your environment, but also change and adapt it, if needed, without having to concentrate on the league.
“The academy has done really well this season and it’s a credit to all the coaches involved and our academy director; also the parents and players have a big role to play and they put in so much effort throughout the season to play games all over the country.
“They are so important to the club’s future and we use a lot of our academy players to feed our senior team.”
Ramblers finished the season well, winning three consecutive games, and, for Murphy, while it was pleasing for him, it was more important for the players to get that reward for their hard work.
Finishing the season on a high, with three consecutive wins, was a great feeling. I was happier for the players and the club, for the work they all put in behind the scenes to make it a successful end to our season.
“The First Division is always going to be a competitive division to play in, just like the Championship is in the UK,” Murphy said.
“Players are hungry to succeed and get to Premier Division status. I am sure, as competitive people, we are not happy about where we finished, but that builds character to go and do better in the future.
“In football, we will always see changes. We ended the season well and that showed us that we have the ability from the team we have; we will need to start having those conversations with payers now, so we will see over the coming months what happens.
“The plan now is for the players to rest and take the time to reboot. For the backroom team, we need to prepare for pre-season ahead; the team will be built over that pre-season.
“I am looking forward to working with my dedicated backroom staff. I do believe we have the best backroom team in the country. They have been outstanding since coming in and they help in creating the trust I spoke about and also creating a great environment.
“For us, we have the same ambition. It’s more motive than goals for me and the backroom team; we just want players to do well and give them the foundation to be successful within the game.
“Obviously, we want to do well for the club and want to fight for promotion and the players will also want this, so that gives us a common goal to aim for and preparation for this will begin shortly.”