Brendan Murphy exploded on the GAA scene in 2007, after carrying his Carlow side to an unprecedented Leinster minor final. So impressive were his performances in that campaign that he earned a stint the other side of the world with Sydney Swans. To the regret of his employers, he decided to return home, to the delight of his fellow Barrowsiders. As Carlow has risen in recent years, Murphy has more than played his part. The old adage of "sure if he was with a bigger county he'd be one of the greats" is unfortunately something we will never get a transparent answer on, but anybody that has watched him for his club, county and country knows the true worth he has brought to each team he has played for. This week we went ClubSpotting to Rathvilly with Brendan Murphy.
1. What are your first memories of your club Rathvilly?
First memory of my club Rathvilly is being a 7 year old and going down to watch the seniors train on the pitch, Paul Curran from Dublin was the manager so that drew a huge interest, myself and my brother and a few others would jog behind the seniors when they were doing runs at the bottom of the pitch, my father Liam used to bring us down.
2. Who were your sporting idols growing up?
My sporting idol was Sean Kavanagh, the original Sean Kavanagh, he’s a Rathvilly man and was the best footballer our club has ever produced, being from a small county we didn’t really have an idols on the county team as we didn’t achieve much. It was more our club players who were our idols, I managed to play alongside “Kav” in my first game for the senior team. It was a challenge game for the seniors against St. Joseph’s from Laois, I was corner forward and he was full forward, I remember looking across at him and thinking “this is unreal”.
3. What has been the proudest moment of your playing career?
I think walking out on the Gaelic Grounds for the international rules in 2010, it was always a dream of mine to play for Ireland, I was bawling my eyes out walking on to the pitch, my family were in the crowd too. It's something I’ll never forget! I also got to captain my club team to a county title in 2014, that’s right up there too!
4. Toughest opponent you have faced?
Gary Brennan from Clare, an absolutely outstanding footballer and if he was from a bigger county I’d have no doubt he’d be hailed as one of the greatest midfielders to ever play the game, I’d have him alongside Brian Fenton.
5. Best player you have played with?
Best player I've played with has to be Diarmuid Connolly, I played with him in Boston in 2018, I’ve never seen anything like him. He could literally flick a switch and run the show, in the final I was taken off, I was brutal but I was delighted as I got to watch him in full flight, he won that game for us on his own, an incredible athlete!
6. Any pre game rituals or superstitions?
I used to shave my head before every club championship games back in the day but I gave that up after a while! I don’t have any rituals really pre-game but I always try and wear the number 8 jersey, my home is number 8 on the row if houses so that’s where that came from. I used to tell the management before games to make sure and give me the number 8!
7. What are your hopes and ambitions for 2021?
I hope we can win a club county title, I think we’ve a great mix between young and old and we’re certainly going in the right direction. I don’t plan on playing too far into my 30s so I just want to make the last few years count!