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Kilkenny hurler Eoin Murphy has teamed up with Avonmore Protein Gold in advance of the start of the 2020 Football and Hurling All-Ireland Championships. 
Kilkenny hurler Eoin Murphy has teamed up with Avonmore Protein Gold in advance of the start of the 2020 Football and Hurling All-Ireland Championships. 

Murphy hopes split season will be implemented again

By Cian O'Connell

With crucial club games at every level arriving thick and fast, Eoin Murphy is adamant that a split season model should be implemented.

The polished Kilkenny goalkeeper is getting ready to be Glenmore's centre back in Sunday's County Intermediate Championship Quarter-Final against Lisdowney.

That is the next challenge facing the engaging Murphy, who firmly believes that the format adopted in 2020 has worked.

"There has to be a discussion about that," Murphy says. I think now that the level of games that have been shown on TG4 and inter-county streaming services, RTÉ over the last couple of weekends, football and hurling, people have been raving on Twitter about your club rivalries and stuff like that as well.

"There's been a great grá for it to be honest. Something has to be done. I just think the club has to be given a proper chance. It's not about just setting aside one month in April. Let's be honest about it, I just don't think that works."

Murphy feels that everyone would benefit from adopting a similar approach in the coming years. "I just think they need to be given proper consideration," the Glenmore clubman continues.

"I think it's worked, this is probably the best scenario that the season is split in two. Then it has to be monitored properly. We're quite lucky in Kilkenny here that, there is football here so I'm not going to talk it down, but obviously hurling is number one.

"There's very little football games to compete with for the calendar. So this season certainly works for us.

"You can see in Tipperary, it might swing the other way, it's working very well for Loughmore-Castleiney but for those guys to go every single weekend playing hurling and football, it is very, very tough.

Kilkenny goalkeeper Eoin Murphy pictured in February.
Kilkenny goalkeeper Eoin Murphy pictured in February.

"So to set aside that couple of months' window to facilitate those is probably the best route to go."

Since competitive GAA action resumed in July the drive and desire for the club game has increased according to Murphy. "Just the coverage that has come out of it, and I know our own County Board has offered a streaming service here for as much games as possible," Murphy adds.

"Then clubs have had Facebook streams, whatever means possible to try and facilitate a stream for a game. There's been great interest for that as well. "I think if you could have your club scene at the start of the year until June or July or whatever month, I think then it would build up into the inter-county season.

"Everybody would have a taste for it then. The way the current format has run this year would be great."

When Glenmore's campaign finishes, Murphy is optimistic about returning to the Kilkenny set-up. The prospect of inter-county fare is important for a plethora of reasons.

"It’s not just from a GAA point of view, but a sporting point of view in general like, you’ve seen with soccer and rugby going on the last couple of weeks - just for people’s mental health, it’s great that it is happening and there’s something to look forward to," Murphy acknowledges.

"Let’s be honest, the winter months can be bleak as well you know so, it’s going to be great.

"For long periods, it didn’t look like it would take place. I’m working as a medical rep there, and we’d be speaking with GPs and nurses about the pandemic and their concerns at the very start and I would have been more pessimistic about it happening back then.

"But it’s great that the club is going ahead, few spectators allowed back and that - that’s good to see."

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