Kilkenny's Paul Murphy: Insults should inspire us

Paul Murphy says any Kilkenny player not seeing championship action should feel insulted by claims the current panel isn’t as good as it has been in the past.

Murphy has heard the chatter about Kilkenny not having as deep a pool to choose from in recent times.

Ger Loughnane’s “functional” comment about the side didn’t go unheeded either.

“Ger came out and made those comments and of course we heard about them but it’s not as if we go into the dressing room every time before we go out and say: ‘Ger Loughnane said this, we have to prove him wrong’. It’s just a general opinion.

“As a player, people have a general opinion of you and you want to answer that opinion of you.

“If it’s Ger Loughnane’s or somebody else’s, he’s just reflecting an opinion of a lot of people — maybe in a harsher way — but he’s just reflecting an opinion.

“If I was a player on the Kilkenny panel and I haven’t started a championship match and people are saying the panel is weak and we’ve no-one on the bench...

“I’d be disappointed in one of our players if they didn’t take that as an insult because people are effectively saying you’re not good enough or not as good as was there before, or not good enough to play against the Galways and Tipperarys and they (Kilkenny) are relying on the boys who are starting.

“Lads in the first place should be pushing for a starting jersey and if they’re not they should be taking that as an insult to themselves. I wouldn’t like a young fella coming into our dressing room after hearing that and being perfectly fine with it.”

Seven years after Galway first entered the Leinster senior hurling championship, Murphy can appreciate why their Leinster final opponents on Sunday week want home games in the provincial competition.

The Danesfort man is a strong supporter of home and away agreements between counties and would like to see his own county as much as Galway get more home matches in the summer.

“Even from my own club scene, you’d like to play more competitive matches on your own pitch because that’s what it’s there for.

“It’s great to play in Croke Park, Portlaoise and these places but I think every county would like to play real competitive championship matches on their own pitch.

“League matches are great but championship is where it’s at.

“The last few years, we played Tipperary in Kilkenny and they’ve been brilliant matches. So I understand Galway completely. Again, of course, I can understand the GAA will be saying, ‘Well, you’re playing in Leinster so you’re going to have to come to Leinster’.

“But certainly there’s an argument from Galway’s point of view and I understand that they want to play at home because it would be great for them not to travel all the way up to Dublin to play a match and play down below in Salthill (instead) and bring a massive crowd just for the experience alone.”

Kilkenny have home and away agreements with the likes of Tipperary and Wexford and Murphy would like to see those deals extended to other counties.

“All you have to do is flip a coin one year. Let’s say we were playing Galway and Galway get the home draw but the next time we play Galway, which will likely be the following year or the one after, they’re going to have to come to Nowlan Park.

“I think it works and smaller pitches make for better atmospheres as well.”

Meanwhile, Galway captain David Burke is confident that he will recover from a hand injury in time to face Kilkenny. Burke, 26, sustained the injury during the second-half of the win over Offaly at Portlaoise last weekend, and was replaced in the closing minutes of the game. “It’s okay, just a muscle injury, should be okay in two weeks,” he said.


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