NEWRY Shamrocks hurler Jordan Murphy doesn’t have to go too far to seek out advice on how to deal with the pressures of big games, as his grandfather has all the wisdom he could ever need.
John Murphy is a famous name not only in Newry but across the Mourne county after scoring one of the county’s two goals in their 1968 All-Ireland final win over Kerry. A selector in 1991 and ’94, it seems that Murphy has the golden touch.
His grandson will be hoping that some of that rubs off on him as the Down side attempt to upset the odds once again against Coleraine in Saturday’s Ulster Junior final at the Dub Arena.
“He has been at every single game,” Murphy said. “My Granda was always my role mode growing up, he’s won the big prize in the GAA.
“I looked up to him and hopefully now he’ll be proud of his grandson playing in an Ulster final.
“He never hurled, he was always football so I’m not sure where the hurling interest came from.
“Ronan Sheehan came up to the primary school one day in Ballyholland and I took a liking to it and I’ve stuck at it. I think it was from that really.”
Sheehan is the side’s current goalkeeper and part of the management team alongside Paul Wilson, Shane O’Neill and Martin Lennon.
They will need to have the tactical side of things perfected because the Páirc Esler men will head to Belfast as firm underdogs, no question. After coming through a 50-50 game with Sean Treacy’s in the quarter-final, they were also written off against Gort na Mona before emerging with a 0-16 to 1-9
victory so it’s a tag they don’t mind carrying.
Murphy said that he was enjoying every second of the build up to the big game.
“It feels unbelievable,” he said.
“The excitement around the club is class. We knew it was going to be tough against Gort na Mona, but we came out all guns blazing.
“We believed in ourselves before the game. We may have been underdogs but I still believed that we would win.
“We’ve done all the hard work and the belief is there.”
A provincial title would cap off one of the most extraordinary seasons in the club’s recent history.
Their footballers were surprise finalists in this year’s Down Intermediate Championship while their u-21s have also enjoyed a good campaign. The hurlers though, could cap it all off in the perfect manner.
“Fair play to the footballers, they put in the work to get to the final.”
Murphy continued. “The u-21s had an unbelievable win against our arch rivals Ballyholland recently too.
“Then there is ourselves, what a journey it has been. It has been very enjoyable every step of the way.
“We’ll just go about our own business like we have been doing all year.
“Coleraine are very, very good, they wouldn’t be in an Ulster final if they weren’t.
“We deserve our spot, they deserve their spot so bring it on.
“I have to take my hat off to everyone who has come out to support us and no doubt it’ll be the same in the final.
“I think a lot of it is down to Ronan Sheehan and Sean Gallagher running the academy.
“The work they are doing at underage is incredible and we’ve seen it in our games, wee kids coming up to you after a match to chat to you.
“They’re looking up to us and when you see them running onto the pitch after a game, that’s why we play.”
“Any those players aren’t coming on looking to talk to Jordan, they’re looking to talk to ‘the lion.’ Murphy is ‘the lion’, Eoin McGuinness is ‘the goat’ and Sheehan is ‘the bear.
“It’s an inside joke, we call ourselves the zoo and it’s come from that,” Murphy explained with a laugh.
All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others supposedly.
Newry Shamrocks aren’t meant to win Ulster titles, but then again, they weren’t meant to reach the final either.