Castleblayney will come again: Murtagh

By Shaun Casey

CASTLEBLAYNEY manager Johnny Murtagh believes the club can reach the heights of years gone by and that “they’re going to come again.”

The Monaghan powerhouse have the most championship titles in the county but last reached the decider in 2007 and haven’t held the Mick Duffy Cup since 2003.

But Murtagh is confident they will get back to the top.

“There’s no doubt about it, there’s no point in hiding away from the fact, let’s call it what it is, Castleblayney is a powerhouse in Monaghan football, and it hasn’t happened for a good number of years,” he said.

“But is it not going to happen again? Does anybody think that that’s actually realistic? They’re going to come again, it’s only a matter of time.

“It’s very important that we have the structure in place to make that happen. Our job is there to improve every player and especially the young players coming through the club.”

Castleblayney have just won back-to-back minor titles and the former Crossmaglen attacker, who is entering his second year in charge, is conscious that he can’t rush the young lads through too quickly.

“It’s been very good, a good attitude and a good bunch of young players coming through. Castleblayney have won the last two Division One minors, two in a row, but in saying that I still felt the decision would have been better for them young lads to go back to u-18 and not u-17.

“I do feel that it’s still too big of a step up for 90 per cent of the lads. You might have one or two that will get to that level physically but the majority of the fellas, I believe it’s impossible. I think most of these fellas are going to need another year and then it’s all about how we give them enough football in the meantime.

“The reserves started there at the weekend so we made the decision that my management team (Dermot McArdle and Colm Lambe) would control the B reserves and the C reserves. Just really so we’d all bases covered and being fit to facilitate the younger lads coming through.

“We have eight or nine fellas that have come through from winning two minors in a row, so we just want them to be handled with care. In Monaghan, they’ve only given a couple of weeks’ notice and now they’ve rammed in an u-19 league and it starts next week, so it’s a bit topsy-turvy at the start.

“A lot of the school’s football is only finishing up as well so to be honest I felt like they rushed ahead on that and probably didn’t look at it with the due care that probably should have gone to those fellas.

“Even though we didn’t have that long last year, we felt that we did find maybe three of four players that did have the potential.

“They’re still young lads, maybe u-22 let’s say, there’s a few fellas there that have stood out and there’s a wee bit of progression there.”

MORE….Dermot Malone’s Farney career. Click here…

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW