Carlow star Murphy happy to be home after Sydney stint

NOW officially a delisted AFL player, Brendan Murphy says he has made the right decision to return home after an injury- plagued two seasons trying to make it with the Sydney Swans.

The Rathvilly club man was offered a two-year extension to his deal by the Swans despite having yet to make a first team appearance, but he chose to turn his back on Aussie Rules.

And he rejects the notion that his decision was borne of a sense of failure.

“Some people will say I didn’t make or couldn’t make it and that’s why I returned home but I know that’s not the truth and the people who mean the most to me know as well so that’s all that counts” he told the Carlow Nationalist.

“It was a tough move but I’m getting back into the swing of things here. After only being back for a few days I knew I made the right decision. It’s great to be back with the family and back with the boys on the pitch.”

Murphy revealed the entire exercise had been educational and gave a sharp insight into the difficulties facing young Irish prospects willing to chase the Aussie Rules dream.

“I never saw myself staying over there for years and years. I just wanted to go over, learn from the experience, soak as much of it (professional sport) up as I could and fulfil my contract.

“I did that and I’m happy about it too. I learned a lot about myself especially when I was leaving home for the airport here or it even got to stages where I’d cry myself to sleep.

“But I stuck to it and got through. An experience like that will only stand to me for the future.”

At present, Murphy is attempting to sort out some employment, which will not be easy in the current climate. He is also considering a return to college, if he can find a suitable course.

In the meantime, he is enjoying returning to Gaelic football, and is looking forward to serving both Rathvilly and Carlow. His availability is sure to be a boost for senior boss Luke Dempsey, who will also be able to call upon the midfield services of Thomas Walsh, now back playing in the county, after three years with Wicklow.

There are no regrets about his time spent in Australia however.

“It was an unbelievable experience and if anyone around was asked to go I’d tell them to go for it. You learn so much about how to keep yourself in shape, how to prepare for games both physically and mentally as one is as important as the other; but most of all just about everyday life and becoming a better person.”

Meanwhile Fermanagh manager Malachy O’Rourke is not expecting talented midfielder Mark Murphy to return from Australia to play for the Ernesiders next year.

The Derrylin club man was a fixture alongside Marty McGrath around the middle for Fermanagh for four years before moving down under late last year. He flew home prior to this year’s Ulster championship and made a substitute’s appearance in the one-point quarter-final defeat to Cavan, having sat out the victory over Down.

Having gone back to Australia though, he is unlikely to be back, according to O’Rourke, who had a third term as boss rubber-stamped by the county board this week. The manager will be looking to freshen up his panel however.

“I’m not aware of anyone not coming back but there will be some additions to the panel,” said O’Rourke. “We’ve watched a lot of club football and we will hold some trials.

“In fairness to Mark, when he went to Australia he said his plan was to stay long term and I don’t think there’s going to be any change in that.”


Another great aspect of being able to roam around Phoenix Park is the abundance of wild garlic, which flourishes throughout the great expanse.The Currabinny Cooks: going wild with garlic

Dyed purple hair, fake tattoos ... Ophelia Lovibond certainly went against type for her latest role.Succes from Failure: Ophelia Lovibond certainly goes against type for latest role

Keeping plants like lupins and delphiniums happy now will pay off this summer, says Peter DowdallPeter Dowdall: Embark on a perennial quest

Three figures with roles in the Cork band’s trajectory tell Ellie O’Byrne about the legend-in-the-making that was sadly never to be.B-Side the Leeside: Nun Attax and the Knocknaheeny Shuffle

More From The Irish Examiner