Murphy aims to use foreign deployment to his advantage

Murphy aims to use foreign deployment to his advantage
Kilkenny's Paul Murphy was at Aer Lingus Hangar 6 at Dublin Airport this morning where Aer Lingus, in partnership with the GAA & GPA, unveiled a one-of-a-kind customised playing kit for the New York Hurling Classic which takes place at Citi Field in New York on November 16th. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile.

It’s hardly a hurling stronghold nor an ideal base for pre-season preparations but Paul Murphy is confident that six months in Lebanon won’t ruin his 2020 Championship chances with Kilkenny.

A lieutenant in the Defence Forces, the 30-year-old defender will shortly deploy as part of the 115th infantry battalion for what will be his third tour of duty.

He was based in Chad in 2009 and flew out to Lebanon two years ago though on both of those occasions felt he made a seamless return to hurling once back at home.

There is also the positive example of former Kilkenny colleague Eoin Larkin who returned from a similar tour of duty in Kosovo to win the 2008 Hurler of the Year award, noting that the trip allowed him to get into peak physical condition.

Murphy said the reality is that he’ll almost certainly miss Kilkenny’s Championship opener against Dublin on the second weekend of May but he’s optimistic it’ll be business as usual after that.

“I felt when I came back the last time, I was probably never in as good condition,” said Murphy.

“I just had such a good routine. Mentally, I was very fresh coming home. I came on in the first Championship match, against Dublin, two years ago and it’s in your head because you’re thinking, ‘These lads are flying it’. You’re thinking, ‘Will I be caught out here?’

"But a ball came down between myself and Danny Sutcliffe, I caught it and it felt like I hadn’t been away. So whatever I had done, I felt okay. Whatever I did worked.

"So I know going out here again, I can do the same thing again and then slot back in to the panel.”

Ballyhale Shamrocks club man Richie Reid and several other hurlers will join Murphy on the overseas trip and the anticipation is that they will keep each other sharp.

“There’s a small astroturf pitch out there,” said Murphy.

It’s about 40 metres by 20 metres wide. Every Saturday, we’d organise hurling training down there for anyone who wanted to come but also in the meantime anyone who wants to play a bit more can use it.

“Aidan McCormack from Thurles is going, Richie Reid is going out as well. And generally on the trips you’ll have people who are playing senior club. I was on a trip with Stephen Molumphy of Waterford in Chad in 2009.

“Players will have it in their heads, ‘Okay, it’s all well and good having a puck around here on a Saturday but I want to be going back to my club or county and actually have a good touch’.

“So you have to use your initiative. There’s a big square out there, a parade square is what you call it. We go out there and we’re hitting the ball hard at each other. It’s concrete, it’s a little bit tougher but you have to make do with what you have. Technically, they’re the things you can do. You can find ball walls out there too, you have to get creative.”

Meanwhile, Patrickswell defender Diarmaid Byrnes has insisted that links between manager Ciarán Carey and the Galway job haven’t been unsettling for the club in recent weeks.

Limerick great Carey, who had a stint in charge of Kerry, was strongly linked with the Tribesmen role having guided Patrickswell to this year’s Limerick title.

Kilkenny's Paul Murphy was at Aer Lingus Hangar 6 at Dublin Airport this morning where Aer Lingus, in partnership with the GAA & GPA, unveiled a one-of-a-kind customised playing kit for the New York Hurling Classic which takes place at Citi Field in New York on November 16th. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile.
Kilkenny's Paul Murphy was at Aer Lingus Hangar 6 at Dublin Airport this morning where Aer Lingus, in partnership with the GAA & GPA, unveiled a one-of-a-kind customised playing kit for the New York Hurling Classic which takes place at Citi Field in New York on November 16th. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile.

They will be on duty again tomorrow in the AIB Munster club semi-finals against holders Ballygunner in Waterford.

Asked if rumours of Carey’s potential departure upset the group, Byrnes shook his head.

“No, not really, I hadn’t heard anything about it to be honest,” said Limerick defender Byrnes. “Lads said it to me outside of Patrickswell, asking me what the mood was like, but training went on as normal and there was nothing made of it. It definitely wasn’t unsettling or anything like that.”

Carey previously managed Patrickswell to the county final in 2015 before returning to the sideline for 2019 and going one better.

“He’s brilliant, a really player-centred kind of manager,” said Byrnes.

“He knows every player, their ins and outs, their weaknesses and he is a very good people person.

He’s well established as a manager between Kerry, what he’s doing now and being in charge of Patrickswell in 2015 as well so he’s probably a wanted man.

Ballygunner beat Limerick opposition, Na Piarsaigh, in last year’s Munster final and regained their county crown more recently with a big win over De La Salle before taking out Clare’s Sixmilebridge in Munster.

“They’ve won the last six titles in Waterford, I think,” said Byrnes. “They’re a serious club team. We’ll just look after ourselves and give it a rattle.”

Paul Murphy and Diarmaid Byrnes were speaking at the unveiling of a one-of-a-kind customised playing kit for the Aer Lingus sponsored New York Hurling Classic which takes place at Citi Field in New York on November 16 under Super 11s rules.

More on this topic

'I don’t think it’s a retirement, it’s just a break': Connor McAliskey opts out of Tyrone squad for 2020'I don’t think it’s a retirement, it’s just a break': Connor McAliskey opts out of Tyrone squad for 2020

Darmody shoots Clonmel down as Rathmore top group Darmody shoots Clonmel down as Rathmore top group

Prenty wants Provincial Council to police training rulesPrenty wants Provincial Council to police training rules

Blow for Clare as Gary Brennan opts out for 2020Blow for Clare as Gary Brennan opts out for 2020

More in this Section

Mullins plans another light campaign for Photo en route to CheltenhamMullins plans another light campaign for Photo en route to Cheltenham

Troy Parrott: 'All I want to do is score goals'Troy Parrott: 'All I want to do is score goals'

Southgate may pay for making ‘Saipan-lite’ publicSouthgate may pay for making ‘Saipan-lite’ public

GAA relax training ban rules during pre-seasonGAA relax training ban rules during pre-season


Lifestyle

I’d always promised myself a day off school when Gay Bryne died.Secret diary of an Irish teacher: I’ve been thinking about my students, wondering who their ‘Gay Byrne’ will be

In an industry where women battle ageism and sexism, Meryl Streep has managed to decide her own destiny – and roles, writes Suzanne HarringtonJeepers Streepers: Hollywood royalty, all hail queen Meryl

'Ask Audrey' has been the newspaper's hysterical agony aunt “for ages, like”.Ask Audrey: Guten tag. Vot the f**k is the story with your cycle lanes?

Daphne Wright’s major new exhibition at the Crawford addresses such subjects as ageing and consumerism, writes Colette SheridanFinding inspiration in domestic situations

More From The Irish Examiner