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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Vinnie Murphy part of an exclusive club - a Dub who prospered in Kerry club game

4 August 2001; Vinny Murphy, Dublin, scores his sides opening goal, Kerry v Dublin, Bank of Ireland All-Ireland Football Quarter Final, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Picture credit; Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
4 August 2001; Vinny Murphy, Dublin, scores his sides opening goal, Kerry v Dublin, Bank of Ireland All-Ireland Football Quarter Final, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Picture credit; Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Few people are as qualified to discuss the Dublin/Kerry Gaelic football dichotomy as Vinnie Murphy, what with his sojourn in the Kingdom between 1996 and 2001.

But how close, if at all, did he actually come to playing football with Kerry? (He did line out for their hurlers)

Dropped by Mickey Whelan in 1996, Murphy went to the Kingdom and linked up with Kerins O'Rahily's where he played on a team managed by 'Bomber' Liston and was, for a spell, the most dangerous forward in Kerry club football.

Around then, Páidí Ó Sé was beginning to understand the vagaries of his job amongst "the roughest shower of f***ing animals" (Páidí's words, not ours) in the Kerry public and Murphy's possible selection was one he was known to have considered, though he voiced no strong agreement or opposition with the move publicly at least.

"Well, like every other player in the county, he will be considered when we fine comb the clubs again after the league campaign is finished," he said in a newspaper interview at the beginning of the 1996/'97 season, one which would eventually end with Sam Maguire returning to its most visited corner of the country after Maurice Fitzgerald confirmed his greatness against Mayo.

"Let's just say that there is pressure to pick him and pressure not to pick him," he added in the piece ... and that's the last time we could find a Páidí quote on the subject.

Annoyed

"When I went down I was still very annoyed and still very naïve," Murphy recalls now. "I was never brought down with the intention of playing for Kerry.

"It was more for work and club football. The opportunity never came about because I came about late in 1996 and the League had already started."

Essentially, Murphy's biggest problem was his timing.

"Kerry won the League and then went on to win the All-Ireland so that just put paid to it ever happening," he says, and so Murphy spent five years thundering into local full-backs, knowing county football was unattainable until Tommy Carr brought him back into the Dublin fold in 2000.

"In fairness to the Kerry people, their attitude was if they're not good enough to win it with their own, they're not good enough to win it at all. And there's a nobility about the way they play and the way they look at the game.

"Kerry people don't like the way Kerry are playing at the moment," Murphy concludes, "and that comes from a long legacy of teams and players down the years who have won playing a certain way."

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