Belfast Telegraph

Glenavon's elder statesmen are leading by example: Murphy

By Stuart McKinley

WILLIAM Murphy believes that he and Glenavon's army of 30-somethings are laying the foundations for a bright future at Mourneview Park.

Manager Gary Hamilton was widely questioned in pre-season when he signed Murphy, then aged 39, 37-year-old David Rainey, Shane McCabe – now 32 – and Gareth McKeown (30).

Hamilton already had 33-year-old Ciaran Martyn and Eddie McCallion, who turned 35 last month, in his squad, as well as himself and the sharp rise in the average age of the squad brought criticism about the long term aims of the club.

Murphy, however, is confident the impact that group of players is making at present will be felt at the club long after he and the rest have gone.

"When Gary went out and signed myself, David Rainey, Shane McCabe and Gareth McKeown what he knew he'd get from all of us was a will to win and a never-say-die attitude" said Murphy.

"We might be an ageing team, but that brings experience and I think there is an incentive there that if players like those who have been brought in this season are willing to sign for Glenavon then it can maybe entice others to come as well to help Gary keep building for the future.

"There are some great young players at the club too. James Singleton and Rhys Marshall were in from the early past of the season and Rhys in particular has done very well.

"Robbie McDaid and Sam McIlveen have come in for the odd run out and they have excelled.

"It's easy to forget that Rhys is only 18. He's been a regular all season and has kept more experienced players out of the team.

"If they all keep the hunger and desire to learn and maintain their attitudes then they can play a part in the future of the club as it looks to move forward.

"The good thing with Gary Hamilton is that he'll give them their chance and he'll stay loyal to them if they are doing well."

How long Murphy is around remains less certain though. The former Linfield centre-half turned 40 last month and is focusing on trying to help Glenavon into the top six rather than thinking about the future.

"I am happy with how I have performed this season and I still feel that I have something to offer," said Murphy.

"Whether I have done enough to be offered a new contract next year is someone else's decision.

"I'll sit down at the end of the season and reflect, see how I feel and make my own decision then.

"I still feel good and I'm still enjoying it. When I stop enjoying going out to training on cold and wet winter nights then I'll think about retiring."

e THE Linfield v Glenavon game postponed on New Year's Day will now be played on Monday, 24 February 2014 at Windsor Park, Belfast, kick-off: 8.00pm.

e GLENAVON will hold a minute's silence before their match with Portadown today in memory of the club's legendary striker and Irish League record goalscorer Jimmy Jones, who died on Thursday.

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