Sunday 18 March 2018

Tale of two Murphys

While Vinny was an outsider in Kerry, Bryan became a true Blue

Kieran McCarthy

FORMER All-Ireland-winning Dublin footballer Vinny Murphy feels that he was good enough to earn a place on Kerry's starting 15 during his time in the Kingdom.

But Murphy also acknowledges that the chance to line out for Kerry was never likely to come along, even though he was hailed as one of the best club forwards, with Kerins O'Rahillys in Tralee, at that time in Kerry.

The lure of work, organised by Eoin 'Bomber' Liston following a chance meeting at the Burlington Hotel in Dublin, tempted Murphy to make the move to Tralee in 1996 and while his performances saw the St Monica's of Edenmore clubman tipped for Kerry recognition under Paidi O Se, it was never a runner, according to Murphy.

"I don't doubt that I was good enough to get on the panel, if not the team at the time. But I wasn't a Kerry man. I had no Kerry relations. I had no Kerry blood. It was very hard for Paidi at the time because I was the quintessential Dub, as such," Murphy said.

Even though Kerry were struggling at the time, fighting their way back from the wilderness and building for the future, not even Murphy's superb club form for Kerins O'Rahillys could sugarcoat his passport.

"To bring me in would have been a big move. When I went down, I'd say maybe I had a chance of getting on the panel. But that was short-lived," Murphy said.

"The Kerry people, they'd rather win it with their own rather than with outsiders. So if they are not good enough with their own, they are not going to be good enough. Then in 1997, Kerry won the league and championship double. It was never going to happen for me after that."

Murphy did play in a challenge game against Kerry in the late 1990s, but that was more of warm-up game for the team rather than a trial game for Murphy and Co. But the 41-year-old has no hard feelings with Kerry, even though he felt he had something to offer.

"If I had played with Kerry I could have had a few extra Celtic Crosses in my back pocket but I wouldn't swap that for the last few years with Dublin, which rounded off my career for me as an inter-county footballer," he said.

"I never felt any bias at all. I could have been anyone from outside Kerry, to be fair. I never felt any animosity towards the county board or the people in Kerry that felt Kerry people should be playing with Kerry.

"It's admirable, that tradition. It's one of the reasons that they are so successful because if they aren't, they wait and work until they are."


And while Murphy, who won an All-Ireland with Dublin in '95, never got the chance to play inter-county football for Kerry, it's ironic that his namesake Bryan made a successful switch in the other direction -- from the Kingdom to the capital -- winning a Leinster championship medal in 2002; Dublin's first provincial title since '95.

A former All-Ireland-winning Kerry minor goalkeeper in 1994, college and work reasons saw Murphy base himself in Dublin and impress in goal with Naomh Barrog, which opened the door for a Kerry man to play with Dublin.

"My first season with Naomh Barrog was a good one for the club and I was fortunate to be playing in a good team. Towards the end of the 2001 season, there was a change in the Dublin management with Tommy Lyons taking over from Tommy Carr," said Murphy, who still lives and works in Dublin.

"There were trials around the county and I expressed an interest that I wanted to take part," he said. "I did enough to earn a place on the panel, going forward with Dublin.

"When you look at it historically, of course it's surreal for a Kerry man to play with Dublin, considering the rivalry that exists between the two counties.

"I am very proud to be from Beaufort and Kerry, but it's strange how circumstances change and I will always cherish that time involved with Dublin.

"It was a great time to be involved in '02 because Dublin won their first Leinster title since '95, and to be a part of that, to be involved in a successful inter-county football team, is the dream of any footballer."

Irish Independent

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