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Murphy senses golden chance but won't look beyond Dublin


Cork's Brian Murphy. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE.

Cork's Brian Murphy. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE.

Cork's Brian Murphy. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE.

BRIAN MURPHY has been around the championship block long enough to know that chances like this don't come around every summer. Kilkenny gone, Tipp gone, Galway gone, and not even a semi-final played.

No point talking about building for the future when it might never be better than the here-and-now.

The long-serving Cork defender (pictured) is hoping against hope that he might make the bench for this Sunday's All-Ireland SHC semi-final against Dublin, having resumed light training last week in his recovery from a broken collarbone – an injury initially deemed of the season-ending variety.

Maybe if they overcome the gung-ho Leinster champions, this two-time All-Ireland winner will have the time and opportunity to regain full fitness and reclaim his starting berth come September.

But he's not looking beyond Sunday. How could you after the hurling summer we've all witnessed?

"Looking at the two semi-finals, I don't think that there's anybody out there who would put a lot of money on any team to win the All-Ireland," says the 31-year-old former All Star defender.



"It's great for the championship that it's so open, for the players and the supporters that there's a bit of novelty rather than the same ding-dong every year.

"There's no doubt that Kilkenny, Tipperary and Galway will be back. It's up to whatever teams are there this year to get over the line, rather than thinking that you have loads and loads of years. You have to take your chances when they come."

As for taking their chances with Dublin, Murphy is adamant that there is much more to Anthony Daly's team than the stereotype (perpetuated by quite a few on Leeside) of big, powerful, super-fit athletes.

"We all know that they're a physical team, they have speed and fitness to burn, but what's often overlooked is that they have fantastic hurlers," the Bride Rovers clubman emphasises.

"They have been winning minors and U21s for years and in the Leinster final they were banging in goals for fun. They have weapons that a lot of other counties don't have and we have to be on our toes and aware of what's to come ...



"They have beaten Kilkenny after a replay, which a lot of teams don't do; Kilkenny usually don't give you a second chance. We'll have it tough, we realise that, but I'd like to think it's a 50-50 game."

When Murphy broke his collarbone in the dying minutes of a club match against Ballinhassig, just over five weeks ago, the initial prognosis was bleak. A four-month lay-off and no more hurling, for club or county, this season.

Instead, he tried something different – the non-surgical approach – after being put in touch with English-based medic Dr Philip Pritchard (a Daily Telegraph article from 2008 describes him as "amateur jockey, racehorse trainer, GP and already unofficially regarded as the jockeys' doctor").

Murphy explains: "A good friend of mine, Joe O'Neill, he's working in the horse industry in England. I rang him to ask how jockeys recovered from collarbone injuries, what they do regarding recovery. On the day I rang him, he asked me if I'd be interested in going over and meeting this doctor and seeing what he'd say. I said I had nothing to lose at that stage so the next day I took a flight over.

"He (Dr Pritchard) deals with a lot of collarbone injuries; he manipulated it back into place for me ... it was fairly painful alright, but he gave me medication.

"He told me that if I was a jockey, he'd hope to have me back in two weeks – obviously they don't rise their arms above their shoulders.

"So far it's going well; I don't know what the end result is going to be but it has given me hope."