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'I had made up my mind to go this year' - Cork boss driven by All-Ireland semi loss to stay for ninth season

Four-time All-Ireland winning boss Paudie Murray has decided to stay on for another year.

Staying on: Paudie Murray.
Staying on: Paudie Murray.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Updated Nov 6th 2019, 8:00 PM

CORK CAMOGIE MANAGER Paudie Murray says he was inspired to stay for a ninth in charge after losing the All-Ireland semi-final to eventual champions Galway this year.

The news of Murray’s return to the role was confirmed by the county board today, with experienced coach Liam Cronin coming into the backroom team. 

Murray’s side were the reigning All-Ireland champions going into that semi-final against the Tribeswomen in August, but were dethroned after a thrilling encounter at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.

Speaking to The42 after deciding to remain at the helm, Murray explained that he didn’t want to step down on that losing note and effectively made the call to stay on in September.

I had definitely made up my mind to go this year,” he said, having guided the rebel county to four senior All-Ireland camogie titles.

“If I went to the All-Ireland final and we were defeated, I’d probably still [have gone]. Losing an All-Ireland semi-final upsets me.

“I was quite annoyed leaving Limerick. It was probably worse that got as the weeks went on. There was probably a 60-65% chance I was coming back then anyway.”

Murray continued by remarking on the work ethic of the players within the Cork squad, and admitted that he found it difficult to step away from such a driven group.

“I always wanted to leave the team in a better situation than when we got it. So I’m conscious of that. It’s very hard to walk away from this bunch as well. All management here down through the years have to take credit for what they have built.

“There’s a very good culture there, [a] winning mentality, very good girls.

“It’s not easy to walk away from that. If I went into another team, that would have to start again and rebuild it.

“There’s a general feeling out there that Cork are in decline. I suppose my goal next year is to stablise things.”

 Murray reports that nobody in the current panel has indicated that they won’t be returning for 2020, and is hopeful that everyone will commit for another season.

Four-time All-Ireland winner Ashling Thompson stepped away from the Cork panel earlier this year. Murray said he hasn’t been in contact with the former captain, but stressed the panel remains open.

“If everyone is playing up to scratch and buys into the culture that we want within the team, there’s no door closed.

Ashling did walk away from the team so it’s up to her. She’s probably 29 years of age, she has plenty to offer. Cork camogie need her there’s no question about that. But it’s up to her.”

Reflecting on the 2019 season, the Cork boss says he has watched that All-Ireland semi-final defeat  “a number of times.” He credits Galway for outgunning Cork with their intensity but adds that he was frustrated by the performance of Kilkenny referee Liz Dempsey.

I was very annoyed with a lot of the decisions that day. A lot of people in Cork did say to me they were unhappy with it.

“I thought it was strange from the camogie association to appoint a Kilkenny referee to referee a semi-final where everyone that Kilkenny would be meeting one of the teams. If there wasn’t a conflict of interest there, maybe I just don’t know what a conflict of interest means.

libby-coppinger-dejected Cork's Libby Coppinger after that semi-final defeat to Galway. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“If we look at our own set-up going in, we weren’t in great shape. Katrina Mackey had a very serious hand injury and looking back, we probably shouldn’t have played her. We had a couple of other girls who only trained on the Thursday night prior to the game.

“I certainly don’t want to take away from Galway because they came at us with massive intensity and they beat us.” 

Elsewhere, the Rebels’ successful minor and U20 managers Bobbie O’Dwyer and Keith Ricken will also continue in their respective roles.

The All-Ireland winning pair have been handed two-year terms which will see them continue until 2021. O’Dwyer helped guide Cork to an All-Ireland minor final win over Galway in September while Ricken oversaw a thrilling championship decider victory over Dublin earlier in the summer. 

 Additional reporting by Sinéad Farrell

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