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'You put your whole life on hold' - Huge blow for Sligo as captain opts out for 2020

Niall Murphy is taking a year out for various reasons.

Stepping away: Niall Murphy.
Stepping away: Niall Murphy.
Image: Evan Logan/INPHO

THE SLIGO SENIOR footballers have been dealt a hammer blow for the 2020 season as they plan without their captain Niall Murphy.

Yeats star Murphy today told local radio station OceanFM of his decision to take a year out from the inter-county scene.

The Coolera/Strandhill forward has been a key man for the Westerners over the past few seasons, and was named captain last January.

But Murphy won’t be involved in Sligo’s Connacht FBD quarter-final against Roscommon in Markievicz Park on Sunday, nor will he feature thereafter.

“I’ve decided to take a break for the season ahead,” Murphy told OceanFM, later adding that the introduction of the Tier 2 championship was part of his decision to step away. 

“It was a very difficult decision and it probably took me a couple of weeks to make it.

Look, there’s plenty of little reasons but ultimately, I always had it in my head that I wanted to do a bit of travelling for a year. Myself and my girlfriend decided that this was going to be the year that we’d take a few months away and do a bit of travelling around the world.

“It’s been a very tough decision to make but I’m happy now that the decision is made and we can move forward.”

He agreed that the captaincy was an extra factor for careful consideration, and something that caused him to think longer and harder about the situation.

Murphy, who was selected for the Ireland squad for the 2017 International Rules series, added that it is a “clean break” and while he considered the option of playing the league and then heading off, he felt “it wasn’t overly fair on other lads.”

While he plans to return to the fold in 2021, he agrees that the idea of inter-county players taking a break, or a year out, is becoming the norm rather than the exception.

And it’s well within reason.

“It seems to be becoming more prevalent over the last couple of years,” the 26-year-old continued. “I seen an article last week about players from different counties that have headed away, and there’s a huge number this year that have decided to take a year out.

In some counties, you put in a huge amount of effort and there’s very little reward at the end of the day.

“The Tier 2 competition going into existence this year probably was another small little factor behind my decision to walk away. The GPA did surveys of the county teams and the result was a lot of the players were against that new motion.

“There’s small things like that that probably play on players’ minds. As players, we did vote against it as well and made the county board aware of it, but it came into play and the GAA went ahead with it

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“There’s plenty of things that add up. It’s a long season, an eight, nine month season for a minimum of nine games, which doesn’t make a whole pile of sense either. 

Look, you put your whole life on hold for the year, there’s no doubt about it. It’s nice, players are seeing the advantages of stepping away for the year and going exploring different things.

After a disappointing 2019, Sligo operate in Division 4 for 2020.

You can listen to the full interview here:

Source: OceanFM Ireland/SoundCloud

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About the author:

Emma Duffy

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