Centre back Murphy loving life with the club as championship hots up in Kilkenny 1 week ago

Centre back Murphy loving life with the club as championship hots up in Kilkenny

Relegation to the junior grade was an unthinkable blow for Glenmore in 2014, and St Patrick's Ballyragget are going through the same heartache now, six years on.

It just goes to show the unforgiving nature of Kilkenny club hurling that in two years, Ballyragget could go from an All-Ireland intermediate final back down to junior hurling.

Thankfully for Glenmore - five time Kilkenny senior winners and once All-Ireland champs - their stay in the junior grade was a short one, with an All-Ireland junior championship arriving in 2016.

Now, the south Kilkenny club are eyeing promotion to the top tier as they look forward to an intermediate semi final against Lisdowney this weekend.

"To be fair," says Murphy, "I think the last couple of years apart from the top four teams in senior there is very little between a lot of the top Intermediate teams and that group in Senior. It is swinging the other way too because Junior is getting quite competitive, just unfortunately if things don't go your way in any given year you will find yourself sucked into that relegation battle. It is quite difficult to get out.

"The way the Club Championship is structured this year with the games coming around thick and fast, obviously if you are winning and can keep momentum going, it is very good. I think from the other side of it if things aren't going so well it is hard to get a good couple of sessions, maybe to go outside of the county to get a challenge against someone else sort of to refresh things. If things aren't going so well it is very hard to swing it back around. Ballyraggett, I wasn't around on Sunday, I was training and gone off afterwards so I only saw the result then late enough that evening at six or seven o'clock. We played them in the League stages and I was surprised to be honest. From the second game we played them, I didn't think they'd be in that position..."

Glenmore are in the much more enviable position of a semi-final, with Lisdowney standing in their way of final berth this weekend. For that game, Murphy will line out at centre back as he has done all yea.

"Yeah, listen it was discussed at the start of the year. I'm delighted I got a clear run of games at it so you can get used to the position. I've just found in the last couple of years the fact that you'd be with the inter-county for a large block of time, you could be 10 or 12 weeks at a time before you are released back to the club. I just found then that it sort of took me a week or two to get up to speed to play out the field. It is a bit different to the last couple of years when I was in the forwards. I'll take whatever is coming now at this stage," he adds.

A former Fitzgibbon Cup winning half forward with WIT, Murphy is a classy operator out the field but in terms of inter-county goalkeepers, he's not alone in this sense. Nicky Quaid often plays out the field for his club Effin while 2019 All-Star net-minder Brian Hogan has been playing centre back for Lorrha in the championship this year.

All in all, Murphy is just enjoying the extended run with the club this year, something that has given himself, his brother Alan and Ger Aylward the chance to train with them. This has obviously brought Glenmore on this year and Murphy hopes the club first structure is a thing of the future.

"For the likes of us, we would have a small enough pick, so we would need everyone to be competitive. The fact that we have been around for the last number of weeks, it has helped. You need to have high numbers, certainly into the high 20s to have competitive games in training, things like that. Then for lads to drive things on. It has been good, we have a semi-final this weekend. All going well we might get another week out of it, but we will be up against it this weekend.

"I just think the club has to be given a proper chance. It's not about just setting aside one month in April. Let's be honest about it, I just don't think that works.

I just think they need to be given proper consideration. I think it's worked, this is probably the best scenario that the season is split in two.

"There's been great interest for that as well. I think if you could have your club scene at the start of the year until June or July or whatever month, I think then it would build up into the inter-county season. Everybody would have a taste for it then. The way the current format has run this year would be great."

Here, here.

Dublin footballer Brian Fenton and Kilkenny hurler, Eoin Murphy, have teamed up with Avonmore Protein Gold in advance of the start of the 2020 Football and Hurling All-Ireland Championships. Fenton and Murphy who have nine All-Ireland Championship medals between them were representing the Gaelic Players Association, of whom along with the GAA, Avonmore Protein Milk are a long-standing supporter.
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie