Saturday 7 December 2019

Murphy eyeing Olympic dream as Six Nations is parked

Ireland's Jenny Murphy. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile
Ireland's Jenny Murphy. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

When Tom Tierney took over as Ireland Women's coach two years ago, he had a tough act to follow given their previous, recent success but so far, it's a task that he's managed expertly well.

Just over three weeks out from Ireland's Six Nations opener against Wales, Tierney is facing the prospect of having to contend with more hurdles as he is forced to plan without his Sevens players who are putting their focus solely on Olympic qualification.

One of those players is centre Jenny Murphy and although she leaves a considerable void behind, in her eyes it provides someone else with a chance, which in turn will improve the squad as a whole.

Murphy was central to Ireland's Six Nations success last year and although she admitted that it will be tough to watch on, she knows that the chance to represent her country at the Olympics is too good to pass up.

"It is difficult. The Six Nations is different to the Olympics in that it's something you've grown up with and associated with Irish rugby," Murphy said at the launch of Aviva's 'move your met' fitness challenge.

"The Olympics was never something to aspire to at the time. It was all about playing Test rugby and at World Cups. It's going to be tough for me watching the girls playing in the Six Nations but the only reason that it makes it easier is that I'll still be playing rugby for my country, it's just a different form."

There will be plenty more Six Nations campaigns for Murphy, 26, to look forward to but for now, she is determined to bring the winning mentality from the 15s game to Sevens.

"There's one space left for Olympic qualification and that's what we're targeting. We need to keep improving and hopefully we'll be going to Rio.

"Close isn't good enough any more. Maybe we would have settled for that last year but this year we're better than we were so we have to demand more of ourselves.

"I've been part of a 15s team that wasn't successful at the beginning so I know what's needed and we are doing that. I'm learning to be more vocal on and off the pitch. That's something hopefully I can bring back to the 15s.

"We're happy with 2013 and 2015 (Six Nations successes) but that's in the past now and it's all about adding to the silverware that we have."

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