Shaun Murphy's first thoughts after Wexford victory were of the minors
Shaun Murphy and Diarmuid O'Keeffe were nudged out of the Wexford dressing room by an amped-up Davy Fitzgerald.
Get out then and chat to the press gang. As much as Shaun Murphy and Diarmuid O'Keeffe would have wanted to bolt the door and live in that triumphant moment all day long, they obliged and were surrounded by reporters eager to get a taste of what was going on only a few feet away. To get their take on Wexford's first Leinster triumph since 2004.
Murphy was beaming and cared little for the gash he had picked up during the three-point win. "I won’t be a model any time soon," he joked.
"That was Matthew O'Hanlon coming in! He was taking man, ball and everything, whatever was in the way.
"It was unbelievable. The feeling in that dressing-room now is unreal. As a group of players we hadn’t experienced it. It’s something to remember and hold on to it.
"But there’s nothing done yet. We’ll go home and enjoy this for a couple of days and then knuckle back down again for a couple of weeks’ time."
But that was not the first thing Murphy spoke about. The Oulart the Ballagh clubman's first thoughts, as he stood in front of the press pack, were of the minor team that, earlier that day, had won their first Leinster title in 34 years.
"It was unreal feeling at the end," said Murphy. "It was a long gap.
"Especially with the minors winning in the morning as well, it will be exciting times. It was just pure teamwork. Everyone together putting their shoulder to the wheel and that got us over the line."
They are all in this together, down in Wexford. It is why the Wexford Ladies team will be feted and acclaimed by the crowds at Innovate Park on Monday evening, along with the triumphant minors, Murphy, O'Hanlon and all the Wexford senior hurlers.
Thank you to all those who came out in Gorey, Camolin, Ferns, Enniscorthy, Oylegate to welcome the team home and all the bonfires in between 💜💛 almost in Wexford Town...enjoy the celebrations! Safe home to all and see ye in the park tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/WpQlQcWh4J
— Wexford GAA (@OfficialWexGAA) June 30, 2019
This is Murphy's eighth year with the senior panel and there were plenty of markers along the way, when he and his teammates were coming up the ranks, that Wexford could start winning big trophies at the highest level.
What has added to that belief has been this Wexford side starting to turn the tide on a Kilkenny outfit that had them under their thumb for a long stretch.
"It’s not that long ago, 2015, I don’t know what it was, nearly a 20-point trimming that we got against Kilkenny," said Murphy, "but we’ve beaten them over the years as well probably but maybe on one-off occasions where in the last couple of years we’ve been building that belief, whether it be Walsh Cup, League or Championship, we’ve been getting the wins and that instils the belief within the team that we can actually go out and win on the big day and I suppose we proved that today."
With the dressing room still rocking and heaving, only feet away, Murphy was asked what it is like to play under Davy Fitzgerald. "Ah, he’s just a pure winner," he began.
"Whether it’s hurling or cards or table tennis, he just wants to win. You could be playing on weekends away and it could be cards or it could be table tennis or whatever it’d be and it’d winner stays on and Davy comes on board and it’s a tournament, like. You have to win it. And he instils that into us. We have to and we want to win every game. Everything we do, I suppose we want to do it, we’ve been craving that success over the last while and I suppose he’s won it as a player and as a manager and when he tells us we’re good enough, you believe him.
"Look, it’s great, from one to 31, one to 32, whatever’s on the panel, anyone can come in. Aidan Nolan and Damien Reck missed out there today and I suppose they were missed but the lads stepped in, some other lads came into the 26. The lads that came onto the team, they done their part as well. It was an unbelievable team effort."
For the first time in a long time, Wexford have time to enjoy their Leinster success and let other counties go at it in the quarter finals.
Before he went back to the celebrations, Murphy reflected on what it meant to end the 15-year wait for Leinster glory.
"I was [here as a supporter 15 years ago], I was. I got out onto the field afterwards, it was unbelievable.
"As a supporter it was great, but when you're out playing, it was… trying to get us off the pitch there, family, friends, you had Liam [Dunne], you had Tom Dempsey there over us the last couple of years before Davy came along.
"They can take something out of that as well because they played a big part in getting us up to a standard where we were competing and Davy just came in and tweaked a few things and got us over the line."