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Wexford Prepared for Semi-Final Challenge   13/06/2018

Whether it’s football, hurling or camogie, the clichés are often all the same.

“One game at a time”. “We’re not looking beyond our next opponents”. “It’s going to be a very tough match”.

Yet if you ask any player why they train, why they dedicate their lives and lifestyle to a sport, they’ll never say that they do so to win the semi-final of a championship. They do so to bring real glory to their county and their community, and unlike a lot of modern players, Wexford's Roisín Murphy doesn’t shy away from that.

“The last couple years we have been building towards winning the All-Ireland” Murphy said at the launch of the TG4 Leinster championships. “It's obviously everyone’s objective when we are going well. Last year we had quite a good season, we had a couple of losses to Tipperary who went on to win everything last year and they're doing so well this year. We see ourselves as being really close to the mark. I think when Anthony (Masterson, Wexford manager) says that an All-Ireland is in our sights, that's a genuine reflection of where we are”.

A home tie against Kildare was Wexford’s first assignment in this year’s Leinster Intermediate series and although a tight battle, was negotiated successfully by the Model County women. Roisín though was cautious at the launch, discussing their chances in one of the most competitive Leinster Intermediate Championships to date.

“Any team we face, we are not taking anybody for granted. We know what we’re capable of, but we are also aware of what other teams are capable of. It's a really competitive championship if you're going out taking anyone from granted you're going to come a cropper”.

Tipperary’s successes last year may have captured the imagination of the Ladies football world, but this Wexford group are also very much on an upward curve, having added a division three league title to their trophy cabinet, just four years after they made their way out of the junior ranks. Murphy paid tribute to Anthony Masterson for the manager’s part in guiding this group up along the line.

“Anthony played senior football for Wexford for years so he really does understand the challenges that we face as players. He knows what we’re trying to achieve and facilitates that ambition all the way”.

That progress has forced Murphy to make a call on where she should concentrate her sporting energy – which was no small matter for a player who has played pretty much every field sport going up along the line.

“It’s just football for me this year, I haven't got back to the camogie. I’ve been studying, I went back to do a masters and there just isn’t enough time for everything”.

“You kind of have to pick and choose a little bit. There comes times when you just can't do everything, when you get a little bit older and it becomes a bit harder to cover all the bases”.

Her devotion to football is already paying dividends in 2018. Earlier this year, Murphy earned a Giles Cup medal with Waterford IT, where she’s completing a Masters in Nutrition.

“Nutrition is a massive part in sport. It was one of my interests and the way careers are gone at the moment, it is follow what you're interested, and not necessarily what is a steady job or the best job. You are going to make your own career and everybody has something that they’re passionate about”.

Murphy is not the only player who has foregone other sports to be part of this group, and she’s acutely aware of the importance of goalkeeper and captain Mary Rose Kelly to their cause. The veteran shot stopper, who first lined out for Wexford 22 years ago, was one of six Wexford players to earn their selection on the Lidl National League team of the year for division three.

“Every sport you play it’s a different skill-set, you learn from every experience you take on. I firmly believe that, and you see it Mary Rose too – her coming back to us from soccer is fantastic.

Mary Rose has been around a very long time, she is a real leader. She is exceptional in the position, leading from the back”.

“It’s a huge boost to the young players in the squad” she declared.

Wexford take on Laois in the Leinster Intermediate Championship Semi-final this Sunday 17th at 2pm in Bellefield, Enniscorthy.