Myriad GAA players have been pushed forward for comment at various media launches this week, with a constant thread their bending of career choices to suit a GAA schedule. Jamie Barron kicked things off this week with his admission that teaching is best suited to a full commitment to inter-county GAA, while Patrick Horgan spoke of the advantage teachers have among panels, particularly over the summer.
Michael Murphy is among the few to initially choose that career path, but instead move into business: he runs a sports shop business that doubles as a sponsor for virtually every football competition in Donegal.
How does Murphy balance the demand of inter-county football with business?
I am a qualified teacher, but the opportunity of the sports shop did come up quickly after I graduated so I said I’d go with it. I’m delighted I made the choice. I went into it with little knowledge of how the business works, but I learned on the job. I’m still learning on the job!
In a way you’re slightly your own boss, in terms of getting away here or there. But in the back of your head, you know you’re going away and you’re going to miss something. It’s like any business, the more you spend there the more you learn, and the more your on top of things.
So you are missing out, definitely.
What does Murphy make of the increasing trend of players choosing GAA before their careers?
You’re hearing more and more of it anyway. Most players are smart enough to realise that you have to be in tip-top physical shape to ghet the best out of yourself. I wouldn’t say that training is any more intense, but you are meeting up a lot more.
Does it worry me? In a way you don’t like to hear of anyone giving up a professional opportunity, or consider a professional opportunity, for an amateur game. I wouldn’t like to see that happening, even though it is happening.
Murphy worked closely with one of the men to drive these ever-increasing levels of intensity and commitment, and he expects big things of his erstwhile manager. Jim McGuinness has finished his time in Beijing as Roger Schmidt's assistance, with the vague plan expected to be a return to Europe to complete the final year of his UEFA Pro Licence.
Murphy is in no doubt, however, that there's a plan.
He always sent us a message before any championship games to wish us luck, but obviously he was nipping off to China so it was difficult to stay in touch. He’ll be back and about, I’m sure there’s something in the pipeline for him. And no doubt he’ll do it and he’ll do it well.
He’s always had a plan, be it as a player or a manager. He’s always had a vision, and he’ll be driving toward that vision. The world will be his oyster, and he’ll keep driving toward that.
Michael Murphy, Donegal’s most successful football captain and 2009 All Stars Young Footballer of the Year, launched the 2018 Sport Industry Awards in association with JLT Ireland yesterday. The awards recognise and reward excellence in the business of sport, whilst simultaneously highlighting the contribution of sport to Ireland’s economy. The Sport Industry Awards will be held at Dublin City Hall on 22nd February 2018 and the closing date for entries is Monday 5th February 2018.