Blow for Offaly hurling panel as Murray opts out

Story by Tom Kelly

Friday, 29th February, 2008 9:00am

Coolderry man Damien Murray has decided to take a break from the Offaly senior hurling panel for the year.

Murray took the decision to walk away from Joe Dooley?s panel last week and is citing personal reason for his departure.

?I am building a house at the moment and that is taking up a lot of my time so I can?t give 100 per cent to hurling. I am not able to fit in the gym work in the evenings because of the house and I feel it is better for myself and management if I step aside for this year,? Murray told the ?Offaly Independent? this week.

Senior boss Joe Dooley says he respects Murray?s decision, but admits he is disappointed to lose his services.

?In fairness to Damien, he hasn?t missed one minute of training and it is disappointing to lose such an experienced player, but I have to respect his wishes,? admitted Dooley.

Murray has been an important member of the Offaly attack in recent years and his free-taking skills have been a valuable asset - as evidenced in last year?s Leinster championship defeat to eventual All-Ireland champions Kilkenny.