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'I was up there for a few drinks with him' - Kilkenny star salutes retiring Galway All-Ireland winner

Eoin Murphy and Colm Callanan became friends through trips abroad with the GAA.

KILKENNY GOALKEEPER EOIN Murphy says he recently visited Galway All-Ireland winner Colm Callanan to toast the Kinvara man’s retirement from the inter-county game.

upmc-nowlan-park-launch Kilkenny's netminder Eoin Murphy. Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

Callanan called time on his 13-year career with the Tribesmen earlier this month and will now accept a coaching role with the county team under the new manager Shane O’Neill.

Murphy says the pair became friendly through traveling together on various GAA trips abroad, and have remained in contact.

The Cats netminder posted a lovely tribute on Twitter following Callanan’s retirement announcement and they met up for drinks recently to mark the end of the 2017 All-Ireland winner’s time in the Galway jersey.

“We’ve been on a couple of trips together so that’s how I got to know him. We’ve always just stayed in contact and different things. We just got on quite well. We’ve been on three trips with each other, in Singapore, Dallas and Australia.

I was up there a few weekends ago for a few drinks with him. It was a bit of craic.”

Murphy added that they don’t share any trade secrets, and that all matters related to hurling are put to the side whenever they meet up.

“You wouldn’t talk about hurling,” says the Glenmore man.

“You’re sort of stepping away from the hurling environment so you wouldn’t even talk about it. You enjoy the one free night you might get out of it so hurling doesn’t come into the conversation.”

The Kilkenny squad have reconvened for their gym work ahead of the 2020 campaign, and Murphy insists that their new season “has already started.”

He has reviewed “different stages” of Kilkenny’s All-Ireland final defeat to Tipperary but is unlikely to sit through the entirety of their 14-point defeat in Croke Park.

With the new season drawing closer, the GAA’s Fixtures Calendar Review Taskforce published 32 recommendations this week which cover all levels of club and inter-county games.

One of the proposals relates to having earlier finish dates for the third-level hurling and football competitions. The Taskforce is suggesting that the Sigerson Cup should finish before the 5th Sunday of the year, and the Fitzgibbon Cup before the 7th Sunday of the year.

Murphy captained WIT to Fitzgibbon Cup glory in 2014, and has fond memories of that time in his hurling career. But he worries for the future of the competition in relation to the availability of inter-county players.

“I’m an advocate for the Fitzgibbon Cup because how I performed in the Fitzgibbon was probably why I was called into the Kilkenny set-up so I owe that competition a lot.

“I’ve some great memories from when we won Fitzgibbon in 2014 and obviously got to captain them.”

He continues:

It’s probably going to get to the stage where inter-county players won’t be involved with the colleges or they’re going to have to decide a separate team.

“It’s the one time of the year that players can enjoy and let their hair down. If you’re from the likes of Ballyhale [Shamrocks], Borris-Ileigh, St Thomas’ and Cushendall, all these teams that are playing club [at that time of the year], and if they have young players, it’s extremely tough.

“I just don’t know where the battle ends. It’s a complete million dollar question with the fixtures task committee. It’s just a conundrum that I don’t think can be resolved in its current state.”

Eoin Muprhy was speaking at the official announcement of UPMC’s ten-year naming right partnership with Kilkenny GAA that sees the home of Kilkenny GAA renamed UPMC Nowlan Park.

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