PJ Murphy wore the bainisteoir’s bib when Erin’s Own successfully defended their county title in October 2007, his son, then just 20-years young, nailing five frees from right corner-forward.
Having beaten Cloyne the year previous, the Glounthaune parish – without the retired Brian Corcoran – fended off Newtownshandrum to retain their place at the summit of Cork hurling and looked set for a spell of dominance.
Nine years on, and as his son headed out the door to Páirc Uí Rinn for their latest semi-final showing, the fact that Erin’s Own hadn’t since been seen on the concluding Sunday of the Cork club championship gnawed away at one of the club’s outstanding servants.
“I was 19 and 20 when we won in 2006 and 2007 and, being honest, I was a bit innocent to it all. I thought we were going to be there every year,” says Eoghan.
“Next thing, nine years has passed by. You go from 20 to 29 and you haven’t played in another final. Also, some of our older players are pushing on like Shane [Murphy] and Kieran [Murphy]. I think that is what dad was getting at and his words definitely stuck with me that afternoon.” Thankfully, we were able to get back to the final.”
Eoghan, the contributor of 3-55 this summer, is one of six survivors from the 2007 starting team, along with his brother Kieran, Shane Murphy, Seán Kelly, Stephen Cronin and ‘keeper Shay Bowen.
“Back then you were looking up to Timmy Kelleher and Brian Corcoran, they were the leaders and the lads with the experience. You look at Kieran and he has been on the scene since 2000. He has vast experience. Shay and Shane too. We are the experienced players now, so hopefully, we can show the leadership.”
Team captain Mossie Carroll was another involved in 2007, although a broken thumb meant he did not tog on the afternoon of their 1-11 to 1-7 victory over Newtownshandrum. His brother Ronan did feature, while the third member of the clan, James, is pushing for inclusion this Sunday.
They are another family who can expect sage advice from the head of the house between now and Sunday – Mossie Carroll Snr lined out at centre-back on the Limerick team which contested the 1980 All-Ireland hurling final. He spent a brief spell in Tipperary before finding “a grand site over the hedge at the back of Erin’s Own’s third pitch’ when securing work with Wavin Ireland in Glanmire in the early nineties.
“I’d be definitely leaning towards him ahead of the final and he’d be good to give you a few words of encouragement, and even better to make sure I listen,” said the team captain.
“Ronan, James and I are scattered now, but we always pop in for a cup of tea to the home house on the way back from training so there is always hurling chat there.”