Paul Murphy ready for another stint in Lebanon
By Cian O’Connell
When the 2020 Allianz Hurling League is unfolding, Paul Murphy will be back working in Lebanon.
It will be the crafty Kilkenny star’s second tour of duty with the Defence Forces, but it is a challenge the Danesfort clubman relishes.
How hard is it mentally to deal with being away for a sustained spell in difficult circumstances? “Speaking for myself, I haven’t found it tough, I actually quite enjoy going over there,” Murphy replies. “I really enjoy my job and overseas is probably the pinnacle of that so I enjoy the work and what we’re doing.
“Of course it’s tough being away from family. I don’t have kids and obviously people with kids will find that a little bit more tough. Being away for Christmas can be tough because our trip is obviously going to be away for Christmas.
“When I get out there, I really enjoy my training out there. The strength and conditioning staff will be onto you the whole time making sure you’re tipping away. I enjoy that, I enjoy my down time then when I get to watch a few series on Netflix or watch a few of Shane’s podcasts, they’re usually good to go asleep!
“No I enjoy my time when I go out there. I think if you have a plan when you go out there, ‘okay, I’m going to use this to my benefit, I’m going to get fit’, or some people use it to learn a language in their down time. Some people actually do online courses when they’re not on patrol, I really enjoy it but again, different people have different strains.
“Whatever you have going on at home can also affect when you're out there in terms of your mindset. It can be tough, if there's stuff going on at home it's a tough place to be.
“Thankfully I'm in a fortunate position that everything is good I'm looking forward to going. So from that point of view I'm not worried about being stressed out there or being under pressure really.”
Hurling will also be very much part of the conversation according to Murphy. “Yeah, Richie Reid is going, Aidan McCormack of Thurles is going as well,” Murphy states.
“And generally you'll see that fellas will be on the trip that play high standards at their own club as well. What you'll find is in the first week lads will be sussing themselves out, a message will go out: 'Look, we're going to go training.'
“There's a small astroturf pitch out there and lads will meet up of a Saturday or Sunday and will do a small session. It's really just an outlet where lads can go and have a few pucks and get a few digs at each other really.
“But that will happen and then if you want to do your extra bit, players will find their own way of 'okay, I want to do a proper skills session here and get the ball flying around.' You'll make it work if you really want to.”
Murphy leaves Ireland on November 18 and hopes to be back in time for Kilkenny’s Leinster Championship opener against Dublin in May.
“I'll be going Monday week and there's no set date for when we return but it will be early May when we'll be returning,” Murphy admits.
“So obviously the Dublin match is on the 8th or 9th of May next year which will be close enough. Again, that's just the nature of it.
“We're not professional, it's going to be tight but the way I see it is if you had a player injured for the League and he was coming back just in time for the championship - it's very similar. Except we're coming back in the scenario that we'll be fully fit and we're ready to go, it's just a matter of how the boys see us in terms of hurling-wise, are we ready to go really?”
Murphy is excited about the additions of DJ Carey and Martin Comerford to Brian Cody's backroom team.
"Of course, I was only saying to the lads earlier that if you told me earlier that I would be coached by DJ or Martin Comerford it is a dream come true," Murphy states.
"To listen to these lads coming into the dressing room giving you a bit of advice or a word that you could do this or that, it is going to be brilliant. "We have been very lucky for the last few years to have the likes of Derek Lyng, Michael Dempsey, James McGarry all these lads, we have great advice in the dressing room.
"I suppose fellas have been there before and done it so no better men than DJ Carey and Martin Comerford to step in there.
"In any of these things it is important to look at the positives. The positives is having a fresh voice in the dressing room.
"It is refreshing for players to hear something new, it is also a good aspect that someone who has been sitting in the stands for the last number of years looking at a game when you are only looking at players on a matchday as opposed to training.
"So you have no bias really. So when you come in to speak, especially the likes of DJ Carey, when DJ talks any player will listen. It is refreshing to hear a new voice in the dressing room and one of the greatest players of all time.
"That is really invigorating for a player too. That isn't to say if Derek Lyng wasn't there this year you'd be saying I'm listening to him again, he was absolutely brilliant in the dressing room. New voices are brilliant and it is refreshing to have."