Gemma Murphy Interview by Eoin Donovan

Carlow Kilkenny Women’s Under 17 manager Gemma Murphy recently spoke to Pro-Scout 3 about her career to date.

The Sports Science student at IT Carlow, who has experience working in both the male and female game, opened up on her footballing story, balancing her college commitments and working through the lockdown.

Gemma: “Last year was a very busy year for me with college, the Carlow-Kilkenny boys and the Carlow Gaynor Cup squad but I never felt like giving up,” she said.

Gemma: “I was always eager to apply what I was learning in college to the teams I was working with. There’s a big overlap with a lot of the work I’m doing in college and what we do in the club, so its a huge benefit to me to get so much hands on experience.”

Gemma: “Overall, it has been quite easy to manage college with football over the past year. After Christmas I was on work placement which I did with the Wexford FAI Development Officer Will Doyle and he allowed me to be flexible enough to suit my schedule with the Carlow-Kilkenny girls.”

Gemma: “I’m heading into my final year this year, so it might be a bit more difficult then, but we’ve a great coaching staff involved with the girls so I know I’ll have plenty of support.”

This season, Murphy has been tasked with managing training her squads through the COVID-19 shutdown on football activities, something she is glad to see the other side of.

Gemma: “Training during the lockdown was challenging. We had the girls on training plans which we were monitoring and changing as needed. But it’s a big difference doing it through emails and WhatsApp. We had to adapt to a different type of coaching role which was a bit more difficult. We wanted to push the girls as much as possible but at the same time we had to make sure we weren’t putting too much pressure on them. None of this was normal to them and we didn’t know how lockdown was effecting them, so we did our best to make sure that the girls were putting in their best effort and this was different for each player.”

Coaching in the south east, Murphy is a part of an intricate network of footballing staff who have regularly been producing Irish internationals in recent years.

Gemma: “I think seeing someone local doing well is always going to influence players. It shows that their goal is definitely achievable. The girls are lucky that they’ve also got some local female role models in Karen Duggan and Blessing Kingsley. Blessing was part of the Carlow Gaynor Cup set up and progressed into u17 National League with Wexford and has been successful at international level.”

Gemma: “The women’s national league is growing which is great for our players. All of them are hoping to progress into a women’s side in the next few years. It was unfortunate for everyone when Kilkenny United dissolved. But hopefully in the next few years we will be able to progress enough to establish a women’s team.”