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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 11 December, 2019
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Why Paul Murphy gave up a Boston Allstar trip for his club Rathmore

Kerry’s emerging defender hasn’t forgotten his club roots.

Paul Murphy 21/9/2014 Paul Murphy in action for Kerry in the All-Ireland final Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

HE WAS ONE of the breakout players of 2014 but the meteoric rise of Kerry defender Paul Murphy didn’t mean he forgot his roots.

Murphy had only played one year of underage football (in 2012) before embarking on his first senior campaign this year. By the close of the season he had claimed Munster and All-Ireland senior medals, won the All-Ireland final man-of-the-match award and received the honour of his first Allstar.

Yet when it came to the Allstar football trip to Boston in late November, the 23 year-old was not on board the plane that jetted off from Dublin Airport. The previous weekend his club Rathmore had drawn the East Kerry final and Murphy never considered missing the replay by heading Stateside.

Winning a local championship that is fiercely fought for and securing a title to cherish, validated Murphy’s decision.

“Once the replay was set, there was never a discussion. It was a pity the way it worked out but you have to have a bit of perspective too. My mother said to me ‘if I said to you this time last year, Paul, that you’d have an Allstar and an All-Ireland but have to miss the All Star trip…’, sure I’d have bitten her hand off.

Launch of the GPA Madden Leadership Programme Paul Murphy (left) at the launch of the GPA Madden Leadership Programme. Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

“It wasn’t the end of the world and we won the final with the club. From our own club, Declan O’Keeffe has two All-Ireland’s and he has no East Kerry championship. It’s a really competitive division. We felt we should have won the first game and we knew we had a great chance in the replay. Look, it was never up for discussion anyway. It’s a hugely hard final to win and it’s a very treasured medal.”

Paul Murphy and the Kerry team make their way onto the pitch Paul Murphy leading Kerry in to action last January in the McGrath Cup. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Murphy enjoyed the celebrations of Rathmore’s win and the trainee accountant based in Killarney now has the Kerry team holiday to South Africa in January to look forward to. It’s been a dream year and he tips his hat towards the assistance he received from clubmate Aidan O’Mahony in the Kerry setup.

“Before I started playing with the club I would have looked up to Aidan. I remember the first game I played was a county league game. I was playing corner-forward actually which might be hard to believe. He wasn’t playing himself but he was very encouraging and he has been right though my career.

“When I made the Kerry U21 team he was very encouraging, giving me advice, how to approach it tactically and mentally. When I broke onto he senior team, he was a huge support. I actually roomed with him this year and he gave me wee bits of advice. It means a lot coming from a guy who has been there himself. He has a fantastic approach to training. I have just absorbed how he goes about his business.”

Stepping off the train in his home town of Rathmore on the Monday after the All-Ireland final win provided golden memories for Murphy. O’Mahony and Shane Ryan, Kerry’s All-Ireland minor winning goalkeeper, accompanied him.

“It was an unbelievable experience, there was a massive welcome in Rathmore and later in the evening in Tralee and Killarney. It did not really sink in until the Wednesday or Thursday of that week. You would be in awe of the whole thing but it was a great experience.”

Tommy Walsh’s return to action with Kerry is pencilled in for early January

Dr. Harty Cup and Corn Ui Mhuiri quarter-final draws made last night

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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