Six days after brother Daithí won a Leinster club senior football championship medal with St Vincent’s, Barry upped the ante by claiming bronze with a stunning effort in the 50m breaststroke final at the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Herning, Denmark on Saturday night.
“I’m not sure if I’ll have the bragging rights,” laughed Murphy yesterday. “It has been an incredible few days. The family were down for the game against Portlaoise last week and that was a great result.”
But surely a European medal trumps the provincial variety? “I don’t know but I know it will make for a good Christmas at home. I’m delighted. I knew I was in with a shout given the rankings and the times I posted during the summer so I tried to keep my cool all day and execute my plan for the swim. It came down to hundreds of a second for the medal and I got my hand on the wall to secure the bronze.”
Murphy, despite an outside lane, started well, clocking the fastest first 25 metres of the 10 swimmers in the final and battled on to come home in third in 26.56.
“I thought a medal was a realistic target,” he explained. “I had a good summer and was well ranked coming into the event so I knew that I would be in with a good shout if I could recreate that form.”
The only concern he had was how his studies for a Masters in UCD Smurfit Business School would impact on his chances.
“This semester has been pretty full on. I handed my last paper at 11.30 the night before I flew out. So the last few months have been about trying to fit training around schools work.”
The 28-year-old follows Gráinne Murphy, Melanie Nocher and Sycerika McMahon as the fourth medallist for Ireland at these championships in four years. And he believes Irish swimming is in a good place.
“We are getting there but it is a slow process. We have come from nowhere pretty much in the last few years. Huge credit is due to Swim Ireland, the Irish Sports Council and the Institute of Irish Sports.”