JJ Delaney predicts Paul Murphy will be next great full-back for Kilkenny

Recently retired Kilkenny defender JJ Delaney believes Paul Murphy is in a strong position to become the county’s next great full-back.

Delaney was included in a book chronicling the greats who have the worn the number three jersey for the Cats over the years.

But his surprise retirement last December shortly after claiming his seventh AllStar award has left a vacancy. Experienced Murphy is the man currently in position having played there against Cork and Dublin in the Allianz league.

Joey Holden remains a strong contender too having buttressed Ballyhale Shamrocks’ defence after moving to full-back and helping them to the AIB All-Ireland Club final.

What’s certain for Delaney is that full-back is not a position Kilkenny should sweat over.

“No, no fear whatsoever,” insisted Delaney. “Even in the last couple of years you’ve seen the nature of the role changing, a lot of teams are going with two-man full-forward lines now.

“If it works like that, Paul will have no problems. The more space that’s there, the faster he is. He’s very, very fast and he’s able to cover ground and he attacks the ball very well. So if teams do that, it will suit him down to the ground.”

Holden will get his opportunity to impress again on St Patrick’s Day when he mans the edge of the square in the AIB All-Ireland club final.

“Yeah, Joey’s there so there is options which is the big thing,” continued Delaney at the launch of this year’s An Post Cycle Series.

“It’s a tricky question, who will play there. The thing with Kilkenny is, there’s always someone who will step up to the mark.

“Paul has done nothing wrong in the last couple of games. It is a learning curve to be fair but you can only learn by being in there and if you do make a mistake, make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“I’ve no doubt that if Paul ends up there, he’s been a star corner-back for the last four or five years, so there’s no reason he can’t do it at full-back.”


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