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Opinion: Paul Murphy's Dublin Display Proves How Mistakes Can Build Character

Opinion: Paul Murphy's Dublin Display Proves How Mistakes Can Build Character
By Mark Farrelly Updated
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There's a certain loneliness when you're standing over a dead ball on a football field that's hard to describe. To onlookers a free-kick or sideline ball seems no different to delivering a kick pass from open play but in truth, they're poles apart. When you're galavanting around in the heat of action, there's an andrenaline surge of sorts that helps you block out all the noise - both audible and visual around you - but when all of a sudden you find yourself standing still, ball in hand, you can be hit with realistation that there 29 people watching on. All eyes on you.

Now imagine what that pressure must be like when you're in charge of a deadball and you just need to hold on a few more moments to beat the recording-seeking, All-Ireland champions.

Let's call a spade a spade, Paul Murphy made a balls of it. His mistake in Killarney proved costly. But as those thousands of Instagram posts from life coaches and PE teachers alike have taught us, it's your reaction to failure that matters most.


On Sunday, Kerry were finally triumphant against the Dubs, with Murphy particularly outstanding. David Moran may have deservedly been named man of the match but if this was a horse race there was a barely a nose it. The defender turned half-forward, turned defender again was like a blue arsed fly, buzzing around Croke Park's turf for an hour and then some, with no let-up.

Some questioned Eamonn Fitzmaurice's judgement when he decided to convert Murphy into an attacker but he is one of a new generation, equally comfortable at half-back or half-forward; an athlete, a tackler, a ball-carrier, a vital cog in a modern Gaelic football team.

Last year, Dara Ó Cinnéide described him as a manager's dream, when comparing him to Harvey Keitel's character 'Winston Wolf' in Pulp Fiction:

Much like the Wolf, Murphy is a no-nonsense character who cleans up messes before they escalate, prescribing practical solutions to emerging difficulties before going off elsewhere to do some more work.

“I’m Paul Murphy, I solve problems.”

- Irish Examiner

That free on March 25 is one which will no doubt live in the Rathmoreman's memory for quite a while but instead of letting it define his league story he has grown from it. This match had the bang of one that had a lot more riding on than just league medals. For this Kerry team and Murphy it could well prove to be character defining.

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