Alan Murphy relishing BGE Leinster U21 decider
By Cian O’Connell
Since emerging as an exciting Kilkenny minor in 2013 Alan Murphy has become accustomed to dealing with great expectations.
The talented and prolific Glenmore attacker, a brother of Kilkenny goalkeeper Eoin, is relishing Wednesday’s Bord Gais Energy Leinster Under 21 decider against Wexford at Nowlan Park.
In 2014 Murphy won an All Ireland minor title with Kilkenny, while last year Glenmore earned AIB All Ireland Junior Championship glory at Croke Park.
“There has been plenty happening, that club run was great, you probably cherish that medal more than anything,” Murphy admits.
“I know a lot of people say it, but the run was something else, to do it with your family and everyone close to you. Your years then start blending into each other before you know it and you are up to the age of 21, you wouldn't see it going at all.”
Muphy, who featured at senior level in the Bord Na Mona Walsh Cup, enjoyed that experience in the Kilkenny set-up too.
“It was nice to get a run to see how you handle it, to see where you have to get to especially,” Murphy says.
“I don't think many make the transition right away, you gave to get a taster, to see where you have to get to. Obviously Under 21 is a big level to be playing at, it is a step up too.
“Hopefully down the line I can end up bridging it myself, but you never know. It is all about making what you have now and this Final on Wednesday it is a chance to do that.”
Hurling talk always swirls around Kilkenny, but while Murphy has an accomplished older brother available for advice, a balance is struck in the house.
“When I think about it we wouldn't talk too much about it, he is very much on hand and even the younger brother (Shane) is in and around this Under 21 team,” Murphy explains.
“So he is very much on hand for any sort of help or anything or how we should be doing things. Not that he has seen it all, but he has more experience than us.
“When we would be together in our downtime you'd be trying to keep your mind off it altogether, but before games you'd be hopping stuff off Eoin, he'd be likewise trying to find out how you are and what you should be doing. I'd say we would keep hurling to a minimum.
“Everyone is different, but I find you need to turn off in your head sometimes, to have a bit of craic or whatever. You couldn't be thinking about it the whole time, you'd only be wasting energy. That is what I find, and I think Eoin finds too, we are birds of a feather that way.”
Surprisingly the last time Kilkenny sampled Leinster glory in Under 21 was in 2012, but that isn’t an issue to the current crop according to Murphy.
“I know we won three years ago at minor, but you have a lot of turnover in players with different lads in and other lads out,” Murphy states.
“It is nearly a different team. Kilkenny haven't won anything at Under 21 for a while, but we are just looking and focusing on our part. The fact that they haven't won it in seven or eight years isn't really bothering this team really.
“We are only worried about ourselves, we wouldn't be worried about it or that stat. We'd just be worried about this as our one chance in a Leinster Final, especially for myself at the age, this is our last chance, we are just worried about making the most of that to be honest.”