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Ex-Ireland goalkeeper ready for his 22nd season despite leaving League One side

Joe Murphy has parted company with Shrewsbury Town.

Joe Murphy playing for Shrewsbury Town against Peterborough United last November.
Joe Murphy playing for Shrewsbury Town against Peterborough United last November.
Image: EMPICS Sport

JOE MURPHY IS hopeful that he can continue playing beyond his 39th birthday as he begins his search for a new club.

The veteran goalkeeper is one of several players who has been informed by League One club Shrewsbury Town that he won’t be offered a new contract for next season. In spite of the news, Murphy is keen to play on for a remarkable 22nd season.

He told The42 today that while the Covid-19 pandemic will exacerbate the uncertainty over the future being felt by out-of-contract players, he’s not yet ready to bring the curtain down on a career that began with a senior debut in the First Division (Championship) with Tranmere Rovers way back in 1999.

“I’d like to keep going next year if possible,” he said. “It will be difficult with what’s happening in the world at the moment but I’m fit and I still feel good, so we’ll see what happens.”

Murphy, who turns 39 in August, was named in the League Two Team of the Year last season after achieving promotion with Bury. With financial difficulties leading to the club’s expulsion from the Football League, he moved on to Shrewsbury Town last summer.

Although the Dubliner spent most of the 2019/20 season providing back-up for Irish-qualified 23-year-old Max O’Leary, he did make 12 appearances across all competitions.

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In one of those games – a win against Championship side Bristol City – he kept a clean sheet to help Shrewsbury book an FA Cup fourth-round meeting with Liverpool.

shay-given-watches-joe-murphy Murphy training with Ireland in 2009 as Shay Given watches on. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Murphy was the goalkeeper on the Ireland U16 team that won the European Championship in 1998. He went on to earn two senior caps in friendlies, making his debut under Brian Kerr against Turkey in 2003 and playing against Algeria in 2010 for Giovanni Trapattoni.

He has experienced all four levels of league football in England, having played for West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League during the 2002-03 season.

“Even though I’m 38, I still have that hunger where I just want to play games and I still feel fit enough to play,” Murphy said in an interview with The42 in January. 

“They say you should give it up as soon as your body says no, and at the moment I don’t feel like that at all. I played every minute last season and trained every day. You have to look after yourself a little bit more in regards to what you do, but I feel good.

“If nothing comes up in the summer then I’ll look at a bit of coaching, but I would love to keep playing. I still feel like I can do a job but it won’t be my opinion that matters in that regard, it’ll be the opinions of others.”

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