Veteran Barry backs Rovers' kids
Shamrock Rovers veteran Barry Murphy wants the club's senior players to give a guiding hand to the crop of young talent at the club in their attempt to bring back the glory days.
Out of the FAI Cup and out of contention for the league title, the best that Rovers can hope for is a third-place finish and a Europa League slot for 2017. Back to back defeats, on an 0-8 scoreline, had dented morale but pride was restored in midweek when Rovers earned a point away to Dundalk.
With the club stressing the importance of a youth policy, 31-year-old keeper Murphy admits that players are playing for their futures, but he sees green shoots for the Hoops, especially on the back of that 1-1 draw in Dundalk.
"I think that performance is within this group that we have. That's what we tried to show away to Cork, where we pushed late on for an equaliser but got overpowered," he says, explaining that 3-0 league loss.
"That's within us, that passion and drive, coming from the older players and filtering through to the younger lads. It's all new for them, they are young and only starting out in their careers but want to do well, and it's up to the senior pros to drag them by the neck and help them.
"It's hard to take, losing 5-0 and 3-0, but it's especially hard as a goalkeeper, you look at yourself and the people around you. All you can take from a 5-0 defeat is an education, we had a lot of young players that night against Cork, and they got a bit lost out there but in the last two games we have played better. They lads assumed their roles well in the game away to Cork, where we didn't deserve to lose 3-0, and did even better against the league leaders on Tuesday.
"We were all hurting after that 5-0 loss to Cork. We have been hurt as a group and we said, as a group, that we weren't going to roll over for anybody, we have a lot of senior players who want to do well in this league, who want to earn contracts for next year and be part of this new Shamrock Rovers side going forward.
"Europe has to be the aim, we have to go for third. Europe is where we need to be as a club, you can't throw away a year just because you decide to go with a younger team," added Murphy ahead of tonight's game at home to Galway United.
Dundalk are looking to improve on their midweek display, Stephen Kenny's men taking on Derry City tonight (live on RTE, kick-off 7.45).
"We are still five points clear and the pressure is on Cork to catch us. But we don't worry about them, we just look after ourselves, one game at a time, we don't look past the next game," says defender Brian Gartland.
"It's good that we have another game right away as we want to right the wrongs, when you don't win a game you just want to get out there again and we'll look to do that against Derry tonight."