After Moorefield won the Leinster final last year, there was a suggestion that some of the players on the team were not happy about not winning the Aldridge Cup at the start of the year. The pre-season competition matters very little in the grand scheme of things, nothing more than a footnote by the end of each calendar year, though it is something of a proving ground for younger players.
Had Moorefield won that competition it would have meant that the reigning county champions captured all silverware on offer to them in 2017, and that is why there were a couple of players supposedly miffed at the missed opportunity.
That gives an insight into what drives this team on as they look to capture a second county title in succession, and a ninth title since the turn of the millennium. No other side has won more than five – the number achieved by their great rivals Sarsfields – in that time, so there is no question over who has been the dominant club.
They are not prepared to rest on their laurels in pursuit of more glory, and the fact that they lost this year’s league final to Sunday’s opposition has pissed plenty of them off. Manager Ross Glavin referred to that defeat recently, while captain James Murray was similarly disappointed with the loss.
“It was just about getting to a county final,” Murray told the Kildare Post when asked about what Moorefield’s goals were at the start of the season, considering their last campaign only ended in February when they lost an All-Ireland semi-final to Corofin.
“We were hoping to win the league and that didn’t come to fruition. We respect Athy very much and it’s always going to be a good battle.
“We were very disappointed with how we performed in the league final. In fairness to Athy, they are a tough team and they’ve some excellent performers, so we’ll have to be at our best to beat them the next day. They are the in-form team of the championship after beating Sarsfields and Celbridge who are two big teams. We can only look after our own performance on the day.”
Keeping up standards is not difficult in the Moorefield camp according to their captain, whose performances on their run to Leinster glory last year earned him a call up to the Kildare senior panel. There is always competition within the club for places on the team, with the likes of Adam Sweeney and Mark McDermott playing increasingly important roles.
“You enjoy it when you’re winning and coming back into Moorefield when you’re doing well, there is a great buzz around training. It’s enjoyable going to training and I don’t think it has any effect on our bodies going for the last three years,” explained Murray.
Another player who has come into the team this year is Anthony Durney, a player who previously starred for the Moores but missed the 2017 campaign while he was overseas with the army. He has taken up Murray’s former role at centre-back, but the 25-year-old remains an ever present alongside Kevin Murnaghan and the aforementioned Durney.
“It’s great because it’s probably an experienced half-back line, and then we have Aaron Masterson in midfield and Daryl Flynn who have really proven this year that they are after upping their game big time and they are probably the most positive aspect of our game that we’ve improved upon this year.
“Anthony has done very well this year. He was on overseas duty last year so he missed the whole campaign, but he came back in for the Leinster campaign and he got to play in the All-Ireland semi-final against Corofin. He has done brilliantly since he has come in at centre-back and he has probably had a bit more game time there than I have this year, but he has slotted in perfectly. There is probably more freedom for myself and Kevin to get forward on the wing and Anthony is there to cover the centre.”
Murray will be hoping to climb the steps of the clubhouse at St Conleth’s Park for the first time as captain on Sunday to reclaim the Dermot Burke Cup, and with the form his side have shown this year, it would take a brave man to back against them.
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