WITH the Munster Senior League approaching, it will be difficult for Rockmount to replicate their success last season.
Along with the league, the northside club also won the Intermediate and O’Connell Cups. One player who had a crucial role was Cian Murphy, who was a late arrival to that squad, having been with Cobh Ramblers when the season began.
The defender believes that the key to their success was the hunger the squad had developed from the league being cancelled the previous years, because of Covid-19. He also feels the players are not content with their success last season.
“When I came in, I definitely saw the hunger the players had to win,” Murphy said. “I think they were near the top of the league two years ago, when Covid happened. There were about six games to go and I think their destiny was in their own hands.
“They were fighting it out with Ringmahon at the time. They still had to play each other and I think both sides felt hard done by when that league got nulled and voided. Then, when the league started the following season, Rockmount were up near the top again and it got called off for the second time.
“When I came in, I could see the determination from the lads.
From playing with Galway United and Cobh, I can vouch that Rockmount train harder than any club I’ve ever been with.
"You are talking about lads going home after training and they barely have the energy to drive home. We are working so hard in training.
“I enjoy it, though. Ethan McCarthy is brilliant. Eddie Kelly is a UEFA B-Licence holder, so the training is very good. When we are training, we do a lot of football, but we do a lot of hard work without the ball.
“That hard work is excellent as well, because Eddie is in the army, so there is a lot of fitness work that we do that is really tough. He puts fierce demands on us. Eddie was at Cork City before, as a goalkeeper coach, so I think he would have learnt a lot from Colin Healy.
“I think he probably would have taken a few things from him, in terms of training. From the few sessions I did with Colin, he also demands high standards in training.
“Then, you have Ethan, who has a League of Ireland background, and is a UEFA A-Licence coach. He is a winner. You just have to look at his track record in football to see that he is a winner. Everywhere he goes, he wins. He has won trophies with Cobh at underage. He has won trophies with Rockmount, St Mary’s, Carrigaline United.
“His track record speaks for itself, really. So, I think, when I came into Rockmount, it was clear that there was a winning mentality about the team. I mean, we played close to 50 games last year and there was only one game that we lost in 90 minutes and that was against College Corinthians.”
Pre-season has been tough to steel them for what lies ahead.
“As good as last year was, you have to not get over it, because it was a really big achievement, but the league is starting again in a few weeks and we don’t want to be a side that is happy with winning it one year and not the next.
“Training has been very good. It’s been good getting a couple of new faces into the team, because that has kept players that achieved so much last season on their toes. It creates competition in the teams. Lads know that if they aren’t putting in the effort then there are others waiting to take their place in the side. I don’t think that would be different at any other club.
Other clubs, like Ringmahon and Corinthians, have improved. They will be in a similar situation, where they have new faces pushing players already at the club.
“We won the league by 15 points last year, but I don’t think the gap will be that big this season, if we were to win it. It’s going to be a good league this year, where three or four teams could win it. There’s not that big a difference between many teams in the league and we know that we have to be in top gear if we are to achieve similar success like we did last season.”