What happened when Jordi Murphy's Six Nations medal went AWOL..
Published 22/03/2014 | 02:30
AS young Stephen Murphy reached into the pocket of the Ireland rugby hoodie he had just been handed by one of his Six Nations idols, he was "engulfed" with concern.
The 13-year-old takes up any chance to meet his idols and spotting his familiar face, Jordi Murphy said, "You again!", before reaching into his kit bag and handing Stephen his training hoodie.
But Jordi had forgotten to check the pockets – and when Stephen got back to the car, he found the precious Six Nations medal. His first words on finding it were: "Dad, we have to give it back."
Keeping the prized piece of silverware was never an option, his father, Kieran Murphy told the Irish Independent.
A keen rugby player as well as a devoted fan, Stephen noted that the ribbon still smelt of the apres-match champagne.
"But then his face dropped. He was completely concerned with getting the medal back – it just engulfed him," explained Kieran.
Stephen happened to have overheard the squad's bus driver say something about going to the Four Seasons – but when Kieran rang the hotel the manager was unable to confirm whether the team was on their way. "I told him that if they were, to leave a message with Jordi that we had his medal and that it was in safe hands," said Kieran.
Unsure where to go next, the father and son, along with Stephen's younger sister, Ava, headed to see their grandmother, Sheila Murphy (84), who had just come out of hospital after being treated for pneumonia. "We put the medal on her and took a picture. She couldn't believe it. She loves a story like that.
"Then I said we'd take a guess that they're in the Four Seasons," said Kieran. When they arrived, the manager fetched Jordi – who had not even realised that he was missing his medal, said Kieran.
"He said 'my God, I can't believe it'. He was thrilled. He's a lovely guy and he gave Stephen plenty of time and took his picture."
"It's a great bit of excitement but there wouldn't be a kid in the country who wouldn't have done the same thing by handing back the medal," said Kieran.