Murray On A Mission
30th August 2011 By Munster Rugby
This time last year Conor Murray was probably fourth choice Munster scrum-half. Later today he flies out to New Zealand with the Ireland World Cup squad.
The 22 year old was in UL yesterday and reflected on what has been a hectic few months.
Last season he replaced Duncan Williams in the final minutes of the November game against Australia and made his first start in the game against The Dragons in Musgrave Park in March. Since that fateful day, his progress has been spectacular.
“Yeh,” he says with a grin, “after I got my start around ten weeks before the final, it kinda took off from there. It's been a little hard to get my head around it right enough. But then you're always training for that to happen. When I was in the Academy, I wasn't just training to try get a contract. It was to try get on the Munster team and go as far I could. I got my chance and now it's a case of trying to stay up there, don't fall back.”
The transition from a familiar Munster set-up to the national one was helped by his colleagues. “It was a small bit daunting really, especially at the start, with the Leinster and Ulster lads because you haven't played with them and so don't know them on a personal level. But being with Munster helped me. With Paulie, ROG and Dunners there, they're high profile players within the Irish squad as well and hopefully you've gained a small bit of their respect from down here and that makes it a bit easier.”
Rumours abounded that the Patrickswell man had been informed that he was surplus to requirements the day before the French encounter at the Aviva but although the grin broadens there's no confirmation. Instead, “”In fairness, Declan kept me up to speed all along in pre-season up in Carton House, where I stood in the squad.”
“Yeh it was a bit of a surprise when he phoned me on the Sunday to tell me I was going I knew it was close. As I said he kept me up to date where I was and how I was doing in training so I knew it'd be close enough for the last spot.”
Last weekend he came on in the closing stages of the England game. “Aside from the fact we were getting beaten, it was great, the buzz I got was unbelievable. The atmosphere was great. The team was trying to get back into the game so the crowd was behind us a bit more. Yeh that felt good.”
“Watching the game wasn't great because we were getting beaten, England were doing the scoring and the crowd wasn't making any noise at all. Then when a few of us came on, we were chasing the game, the crowd picked up and it was really was a great buzz.”
Murray is not going to the Land of the Long White Cloud as a spectator. “Absolutely not. Now that I've gotten a couple of caps, I'm going to believe in myself that I can play at that level.”
“It is a bit different of course but you need to grow in that type of environment so yeh I'm going out there to try get myself game time.”