Dempsey hails Murphy for soldiering on in heroic finale
BRENDAN Murphy displayed a soldier's courage in playing through the pain barrier to score three late golden points which helped Carlow to edge home against Louth in a nail-biting finish at Portlaoise.
Murphy has been unavailable to Carlow for most of the year because of training duties with the Irish Army, and when he did come back, he injured ankle ligaments in a recent challenge against Cavan.
But that didn't stop the former Aussie Rules player from digging deep to get three of Carlow's last four points, including a smashing score from a long-range sideline kick, and crowning the day by nicking the injury-time winner.
Carlow manager Luke Dempsey couldn't have been more pleased as his side, with five debutants and seen as outsiders for the match, went through to a Leinster semi-final against Wexford.
And he's giving huge credit for that to the spirit shown by Brendan Murphy.
"We haven't had Brendan all year, and it's testament to the hard work he was doing in his training as a soldier that he came back to us a couple of weeks ago, albeit that he got injured against Cavan, and still had the wherewithal, exhausted as he was, to push on and get those marvellous points," he said.
"He was marvellous and so was his brother Brian who has come back from a cruciate ligament injury. But all the players were marvellous. They've stuck with Carlow football and they deserve the credit and that victory."
Certainly Murphy wasn't holding back in his determination.
"It's unbelievable. We wanted to come here and show there is football in Carlow," he said.
"Everyone's writing us off. Every day we go out nobody's giving us a chance, but today we showed there is football in us and we'll be ready for the next day against Wexford."
Murphy felt that with the extra man advantage, Carlow should have made more headway, but instead they found themselves three points down with just over 10 minutes to go.
"We should have never let them get ahead of us. We fell asunder. Our heads went, but we fought back," he said.
"I've missed a few games, but the work that the boys have been putting in is super, and we're coming ready for the next game again."
And as for the next outing, Murphy is ready, willing and able for the challenge.
"Wexford in Croke Park in a Leinster semi-final -- for us it's a Cup final.
"We've nothing to lose, so we'll forget about today and give it everything in the next match," he said.