Hunger not an issue for title-chasing Erin’s Own

When Erin’s Own won a second consecutive county SHC title in 2007, it had the air of a legacy being established.

After beating Cloyne the previous year, the Glounthaune side came back – without the retired Brian Corcoran – beat Newtownshandrum in the final and the game seemingly a signal that the guard had been emphatically changed.

Still a teenager, Eoghan Murphy scored five points in that 1-11 to 1-7 win, but he is still waiting to add a third county medal, Erin’s Own having to watch as neighbours Sarsfields have instead imposed themselves as the team to beat.

However, Murphy does not see the failure to win the Seán Óg Murphy Cup again as a decline, rather an illustration of the difficulty involved in going all the way.

“We’ve been in two semi-finals since,” he said, “we were beaten by a last-minute goal against Bride Rovers in 2008 and then Sars beat us in 2010, so we have got close but it’s not easy to keep coming back and get to the latter stages.

“Every club is trying to step up their preparations in trying to win one. Maybe our hunger dropped off a bit and that cost us, but I think that we’re getting back to where we were.

“We still have the likes of Peter Kelly, Kieran Murphy and Shane Murphy, and then young fellas like Killian Murphy and Mark Collins have made the step up. Obviously, we haven’t hit the heights of 2006 and ’07, but that’s where we’re trying to get back to.

“You start every year with a clean slate thinking that you’re going to win it, but it doesn’t always work out that way.”

While still only 25, Murphy has been around since 2005, but the toll taken by time has not diminished his enjoyment.

“Hurling has been part of my life since I was five or six,” he said, “I never thought of it as a chore or anything like that or I’ve never got sick of it.

“Every winter when you go away you’re looking forward to January and February and getting back into it again.”

When he isn’t playing hurling, golf is his fallback with the “I play a small bit” line belying his status as a scratch player.

“It’s a good release because it’s something totally different, you don’t have a fella behind you hitting you, playing against the course is something I enjoy.

“Maybe the hurling helped me, with the hand-to-eye co-ordination, but obviously golf is more elegant. I tend to balance them well, but hurling is obviously the priority and I play golf when the hurling is quiet, it’s something to do when I retire.”

For now, the focus is on the hurling, and hoping to secure bragging rights from his former housemate, Sarsfields and Wexford hurler Éanna Martin.

“I used to share a house with him,” he said, “if they won something, we’d come home and there wouldn’t be much talk!

“When we were winning it was before he came to Sars so I’ve had to take it over the last few years from himself and Tadhg Óg Murphy. They’ve been having a few good years and fair play to them. Sars are an excellent team, they’re probably a step above everybody else at the moment, but we’re training and working to try to get up to their level.”

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