GAA Football

League changes not as drastic as made out says Kerry's Paul Murphy

Kerry and Ireland star Paul Murphy helped the Kingdom make a winning start to the Allianz Football League against Donegal
Jason O'Connor

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THE tightening up of fixtures for a pre-April finish to the League is one of the noticeable things about the 2018 calendar but Kerry’s Paul Murphy doesn’t feel the changes are as drastic as made out.

After an extended stay in Australia following his appearance with Ireland in the International Rules Series, Murphy is fully re-acclimatised to life in the Kingdom.

Victory over Donegal on Sunday in Kerry’s League opener was a good start to 2018 for the Rathmore man, and he was upbeat on the changes to the League schedule.

“What I think is different is we are starting off with three straight games and then a week off and then go in blocks of two games each with a weekend off in between both blocks. 

“The one thing I like about the League is that even when you lose or play bad in a game there is still a chance to make things right immediately afterwards, whereas if you lose in the Championship it can be at least four of five months before you get the chance to put things right.”

There was a dramatic finale against Donegal in Killarney on Sunday as Kerry needed a late point from substitute Daithi Casey to dig out a one-point win – 2-18 to 3-14. 

But Murphy sees the good in the win far more than the bad.

“We’re happy with the win even if it was far from perfect,’’ he said. 

“There are more positives than negatives, though, and you have to expect when you give as many fellas their first starts and first League minutes like we did that it won’t be all plain sailing. 

“It’s an experience that should bring them on leaps and bounds, though.

“I always think winning your home games are the most important thing in the League because it’s hard to know what to expect when you travel to another county’s ground in the League.”.

It was a see-saw contest that could have gone either way last Sunday, but Murphy said Kerry never felt like it was gone against the 14 men of Donegal, despite being four points behind approaching the final 10 minutes. 

“Even when Donegal went four up we still felt it was there especially when Paul [Geaney] got our second goal and left only a point in it. 

“To go two up then and be hit with a third goal by them was a sucker punch but it’s a good sign of the team that we fought back again like we did.”

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