Paul Murphy and Kerry keen to make up for lost time

New captain looking forward to leading the Kingdom back into the limelight

Paul Murphy:  “Certainly, there is something to prove. There is savage hunger among the group. We’re raring to go, raring to get stuck in . . . We want to start well and see where we go from there.” Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Paul Murphy: “Certainly, there is something to prove. There is savage hunger among the group. We’re raring to go, raring to get stuck in . . . We want to start well and see where we go from there.” Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

A make or break season for Kerry begins this weekend in Tralee with the visit of Galway.

Last year began with many believing Peter Keane’s team would complete the job begun when they nearly beat Dublin in the 2019 All-Ireland final.

Instead there was the mayhem of the pandemic lockdown and a long lay-off until autumn. Kerry won the league and the belief that their time had come hardened only to come apart in the monsoon that swept Páirc Uí Chaoimh and the last drenching seconds of extra time when Cork pulled out a first win over their oldest rivals in eight years.

New captain, Paul Murphy is asked whether his team have something to prove – will this affect your attitude to theatre, Mrs Lincoln?

“Yeah, absolutely. We’ve had a long time to think about it too and to wait for it but we’re back training now three weeks ago, having been off and away from the group for six months, more or less.

“There’s a great buzz, a great bite to the sessions. Certainly, there is something to prove. There is savage hunger among the group. We’re raring to go, raring to get stuck in . . . We want to start well and see where we go from there.”

And they have had a long time to think about it; more than six months and not a ball kicked. There were also rumours of discontent in the dressing-room, which he dismisses or at least, parries.

“We’re delighted with the set-up we have both in terms of the backroom and the players.”

Pay tribute

It might appear ludicrous to saddle the team with All-Ireland pressures after a season like 2020 but there’s no doubt that this is the likely price of redemption.

The task was slightly complicated by the retirement of Peter Crowley at the early age of 30. He and Murphy were key players in the Kerry defence when the All-Ireland was won in 2014. Crowley became the fourth defender to retire – albeit the only first-choice back – after reserve goalkeeper Brian Kelly, Shane Enright and Jonathan Lyne.

Murphy is friendly with Crowley and shared a house at one stage with a few of the retirees.

“I would be close with Peter. I lived with him for a few years along with Brian Kelly and Shane Enright. Yeah, I did talk to Peter but you know Peter is his own man and he’s not the easiest guy to change his mind on anything but I’d just like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to him.

“He’s been a great servant for Kerry, a fantastic footballer and he went straight from minors to U21s to seniors. He’s well over a decade of service given there and I always saw him as a standard-bearer within the group. You could see him on the field but in the background he always pushed things on.”

He sees the vacancies as also being an opportunity for others but there’s no doubt that Crowley represents a loss of quality and experience in what will be a challenging year.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.