Donal O'Grady and Anthony Daly yesterday. INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Murph's sideline cut: leaning on Dalo

“I’m endeavouring to get a word with Dublin manager Anthony Daly. ‘Jaysus Murph, give me a minute’ he tells me, and I can see he’s dazed, confused, elated and emotional.”

ALL-IRELAND HURLING quarter-final day, and Thurles is heaving.

The final whistle goes, Dublin have just beaten Limerick in a titanic struggle and I’m endeavouring to get a word with Dublin manager Anthony Daly. “Jaysus Murph, give me a minute” he tells me, and I can see he’s dazed, confused, elated and emotional.

This is the part of the job that has been getting most reaction from mates. “Watched the game yesterday boss, saw (insert manager’s name here) telling you to go to hell at full-time” has been the general tenet of a lot of messages I’ve been receiving.

I know that it must be almost impossible for a manager to compose himself in those moments directly after the game but it’s also when you get to hear how much it means to these guys, win or lose. So if someone doesn’t want to talk it’s perfectly understandable, I’ll get them in due course after the game anyway, but immediacy is always best.

So I leaned on Daly a bit yesterday and spoke to him as he was being embraced by his players and selectors. The pressure he puts himself under must be huge, judging by the relief that was etched across his face but as ever he was brilliant to listen to.

He did a big interview with us on ‘Off The Ball’ when he got the Dublin job, about his entire career up to that point and I remember Eoin asking him about the 1997 Munster final against Tipperary in Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Daly gave him the most amazing answer, talking about how it was one of those days that, maybe when you’ve had a few pints, you throw your head back, close your eyes and think about, even now years later.

It’s the sort of sentiment that you know other sportsmen must feel instinctively – you just don’t hear enough of them saying it. And I actually thought of that when I was asking him to speak because maybe it’s that feeling he wanted to remember, not me badgering him for an interview.

But that minute he took to compose himself on Sunday afternoon in Thurles obviously worked, because he remembered to play down Dublin’s chances against Tipp too, old pro that he is!

We certainly got the better of the two games on Newstalk because Galway-Waterford was a real non-event. The performance of the team has angered a lot of people in Galway I know but they’re hurting hugely- the scene on the team bus as it pulled out of Thurles seemed pretty sombre.

A great woman to get to the game early

Obviously I was pretty disappointed but if Galway are to lose to anyone it may as well be Waterford, as that’s where my dad (and therefore half my cousins) are from. I actually watched it with my uncle Declan, a stalwart member of the De La Salle club in Waterford city, and his son Ray who is heavily involved with the De La Salle seniors.

Murphy Snr is a good man to hurl every stroke while watching a game, including a few elbows buried instinctively into my ribs! So no divided loyalties for me on Sunday but from now on i’ll be rooting squarely for the Deise.

We were covering Cork and Down in the football qualifiers in Croker on Saturday evening, and the All-Ireland champions looked hugely impressive. There has been quite a bit of talk about this Cork team still having questions to answer – Joe Brolly and Tony Davis went at it hammer and tongs on the Sunday Game on this issue of course – but I would have to say that until they beat Kerry they’ll have to put up with it; it may not be fair but All-Ireland champions are held to a higher standard.

Conor Counihan in Croker – that could be Frank Murphy’s shoe on the right… let’s just say it is

I actually met Tony Davis in the tunnel after the Cork game. Tony is one of life’s great gentlemen, and he was commenting on my Newstalk bib, which he felt was rather cramping my style.

He was hoping I hadn’t tidied up my act for Croke Park – what he actually said was “don’t ever change.”  Tony Davis loves me just the way I am, apparently.

Which is always nice to hear.

  • This week Murph was – in the South of France on holidays sweating on the fitness of Alan Kerins… ah no, I was actually just sweating. On that actually; can newspapers, websites and radio bulletins please stop using the phrase “county X are sweating on the fitness of player Y…” – you’re telling me the population of an entire county are perspiring as one over a GAA player’s dodgy hamstring? I don’t think they are, and if they are it’s a rather disgusting image and I’d rather not have to wrestle with it. *RANT OVER*