After only starting to play rugby at 18 when she was in college in UCC, Ellen Murphy now finds herself as an established Irish international. Due to Covid-19, the Out-Half has had to move back to Blackrock R.F.C after securing a dream move to Gloucester-Hartpury in 2019, but she isn’t prepared to let that stall her progression. With another 6 Nations series right around the corner, the Longford native is keen to keep making forward steps to bring success to her club and country. This week we went ClubSpotting to Blackrock R.F.C with Ellen Murphy.
1. How has it been moving to Blackrock due to Covid-19?
Its been a big change, to be honest, going from a semi-professional set up in Gloucester to now back working full time and trying to juggle my sporting career too but unfortunately, that’s the reality of the game here in Ireland. Blackrock is an unbelievable club with top quality players and coaches so I’ve really enjoyed training down in Stradbrook. Ben Martin has taken over this year and his coaching style mixed with the calibre of players at the club is really exciting and I expect it to be a big year for the club!
2. Who was your sporting idol growing up?
Like most girls from my generation, I think Sonia O’Sullivan was probably my biggest sporting idol. Her achievements on the track and on the world stage just made her an absolute superhero.
3. Who was your biggest influence in getting to sport when you were younger?
My Dad has probably been my biggest influence getting into the sport. He’s a Kilkenny man so I would have started off playing camogie and he was the coach of the first team I ever played for. He used to spend hours out on the green in front of our house with me and my brother just pucking a ball and making sure we honed our skills. From then he’s driven the length and breadth of the country dropping me to various training sessions and has been my biggest supporter all the way up to me now playing for Ireland.
4. What has been your proudest moment in Rugby so far?
Definitely my first cap v England in Twickenham. It was an incredible moment of realising all the hard work over the years had finally paid off. We played after the England v Australia men’s game so got to experience walking out to a crowd of 82,000 people. The sheer noise of the crowd during the warmup was like something I’ve never experienced before and we couldn’t even hear each other. We went toe to toe with the best team in the world for large parts of that game and even though we lost, it still sticks out as one of my favourite games of all time to play in as we all walked off the pitch knowing we had completely emptied the tank and had left it all out on that hallowed rugby turf.
5. Women’s sport is finally getting more and more publicity and support, what barriers or changes would you make to see it continue to grow?
The Irish media have really embraced the 20x20 campaign and the increase in coverage of the women’s game over the last 2-3 years has been incredible. I think for me personally, the biggest thing I’d like to see the change from a women’s rugby perspective is the potential move to semi-professional/ fully professional set-up at interprovincial and international level and to expand that interprovincial competition into a potential Pro14 or some kind of British and Irish league where there would be competition between the provincial/club teams here and the premiership teams in the UK. Having experienced playing in the premiership last year, a professional set up with coaching staff and a semi-professional environment from a player point of view really improved the skillset of the individual player and as a result, increased the quality of games being played week in week out. This makes for better viewing for fans and can only drive the overall profile of the game.
6. What are your hopes for club and country in the future?
As a squad, we hope to qualify for the upcoming World Cup in New Zealand in 2021 and to have a good run in the 6 nations after Christmas. Personally, I hope to keep improving in all aspects of my game, to get back into the matchday 23 and really push for a seat on the plane to New Zealand for that world cup if qualifiers go to plan for us.
What is ClubSpot?
ClubSpot offers a wide range of features to ease the burden on volunteers in sports clubs and to help clubs increase their revenues. With a wide range of features, online payment and a customised Club App included.
For more information or to arrange a product demonstration for your club contact email@example.com