Fermanagh captain Courteney Murphy pictured at Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail ahead of next Saturday’s TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Junior Football Championship Final.
Fermanagh captain Courteney Murphy pictured at Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail ahead of next Saturday’s TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Junior Football Championship Final.

Murphy optimistic about Fermanagh's future


By Cian O’Connell

Something is stirring in Fermanagh Ladies Football again so Courteney Murphy is optimistic about the future.

Saturday’s TG4 All Ireland Junior Championship Final against Wicklow is next on the agenda, but the recent signs have been encouraging for Fermanagh.

“I hope so, we are very young now, but it is all about player retention - keeping the squad and keeping progressing, hopefully developing as players,” Murphy says ahead of this weekend’s Parnell Park decider.

Momentum matters so much according to Murphy, who is on the doubtful list due to a hand injury. “Definitely, winning the Division Four did that for us last year,” Murphy replies.

“It gave us the momentum, we got into three finals last year, the Ulster Final and All Ireland Junior Final too.

“So we are used to competing in finals, that will stand to us now come Saturday. When other girls see us in finals, that encourages us, it is where you want to be, getting girls in to play football where they will be competing at the highest level.”

While Fermanagh’s playing numbers might be low in comparison with other counties, a gritty determination exists.

“We have a small pick, but within ourselves we have a few clubs to choose from,” Murphy remarks. “That just means that the girls that are coming in are well used to playing with each other.

“That matches up on the field, certainly club players play well together, but it also means thankfully we are a close knit team.

Courteney Murphy in action during the 2019 Ladies National Football League Division Four final.
Courteney Murphy in action during the 2019 Ladies National Football League Division Four final.

“You are always going to know people coming in, you are going to know something about them. So it is more of a community sort of a thing when you are in a close knit group like ourselves.”

Murphy, who had a stint in college in NUIG, relished her time in the west. “A lot of my friends were going to Belfast, just at the time I wanted something different,” Murphy states. “It was between Dublin and Galway, I'm really glad I ended up in Galway, it was a great four years so it was.

“I don't think I took the football too seriously in college, it was a bit of craic so it was. I probably didn't put my best foot forward. It was a great way of meeting girls, especially in first year, I loved it.”

The Fermanagh captain is eager to play some part in the upcoming final. “The last fortnight it has been a wait and hope game, but I’m kind of hopeful that I will get some involvement anyway,” Murphy comments.

“It’s a bit of a knock to the hand I picked up against Wicklow the first day. I had to sit out the Carlow and Limerick games. Obviously it was a bit of a tough watch from the sidelines, so I’m hoping that come Saturday, that I will be able to play.

“I’ve been running about, it’s just the hand. It’s just a wait and see thing and hopefully come Saturday I’ll be able to get it strapped up and I’ll go out.”

Beaten by Louth in the 2019 final, Murphy wants to be involved at the Donnycarney venue. “It was really frustrating,” Murphy responds about suffering the hand injury. “But you just have to look at it in an optimistic kind of way and put your own worries to the side.

“On the day what can I do for the team? If that’s from the sidelines I constantly need to be giving encouragement. I might not be able to lead them from the pitch, but whatever I can do from the sideline that’s just my focus to help the team.

“After the disappointment of last year, it’s motivation for this year. If we were to atone for that then that’d be great way to finish the year. I don’t think anybody would expect to be winning All-Irelands in December, but we’ll take it anyway.”