By Damian Dolan
Michael Murphy is “confident” he’ll be available for selection for London’s All Ireland first round qualifier on June 9.
The Fulham Irish captain and former Tyrone All Ireland winner was in line to make his long-awaited London debut when he was named on the bench for the Exiles’ Connacht Championship clash with Sligo.
But he was forced to pull out in the warm up after suffering a recurrence of the tendon injury in his hamstring-hip, which he picked up against Corofin in the club championship on January 21.
Murphy is confident, though, that he’ll be available to play a part in the qualifiers, if called upon. News that is sure to be welcomed by Exiles boss Ciaran Deely.
“I’ll do everything the physios ask for the next three or four weeks, and I’m hopeful I’ll be okay by June 9,” Murphy told the Irish World. “I’m confident I’ll get back.
“I tried to condense six-seven (rehabilitation) weeks into the last four weeks, with Sligo in mind. Now I’ve got five weeks done of that programme, albeit with a bit of a set-back at the end.
“When you’ve a goal like Sligo you push it to get there. Now there’s a bit of daylight to try and get ready for it.”
While disappointed to miss out, Murphy was “happy” that the injury resurfaced in the warm up, and not when he was on the pitch.
“Had I got through the warm up I might have been on five minutes and I could have been off again,” added Murphy, who’d been “rehabing intensively” to try and get back in time to face Sligo having been forced to sit out the Exiles’ entire league campaign.
“It would have been good to have been involved, of course, there’s been a lot of work put in to try and get there. But the older you get the harder it is it get back – I’m not 22 anymore.
“But I don’t think it would have made much difference. On the day Sligo were a bit faster and sharper to the ball.
“London were hungry to win the game, but they [Sligo] obviously came with a bit of hurt from five years ago. You could see it.”
London got back out on the training pitch for the first time last week since the loss, and while Murphy admits that it’s “frustrating” to be out of Connacht, he says the Exiles still have a huge prize to aim for.
“The fellas put so much in to trying to get over the line against Sligo. It didn’t happen, but they’ll be 15 other teams it won’t happen for either,” he said.
“A win in the All Ireland first round qualifiers would be massive to London football.”