If had not been for the odd friend or family member occasionally mentioning what was being said and written about him during the Six Nations, then Conor Murray might not have even been aware of the criticism at all.
"It didn't get to me because I genuinely don't see much media but this time around is a bit different because the Six Nations, everyone is watching it and your mates are chatting to you and they're saying 'did you see what this fella said about you?' and I genuinely didn't," said Murray on Wednesday.
"You see, I'm in camp and I'm with the lads and with the coaches and we have a realistic view of where we are and what we need to do and fix and what's going well and what's going too well. When someone says [something] to you, you're like ‘why are you reading that? That doesn't make sense’.
"I don't really mind what that [media] person says anyway because it doesn't affect my life, it doesn't affect my performances at the weekend."
The past nine months have been an unusual period for Murray. He suffered the first serious setback of his career, a neck injury which kept him out of action until Christmas. He has also failed to replicate his stellar form of previous seasons.
"I get it, I completely get it," said Murray.
I probably wasn't at my best during the Six Nations but if you know the game, you know it's built on small margins and small fixes. We tried to work our way through it during the Six Nations as an individual and as group. That was the process and after France we thought we had got over the hump but to go to Wales and have a disappointing day there was really frustrating.
From my point of view, as a nine, as a half-back, when things are going well, you'll get plaudits and you'll probably get overly praised because you're at the hub of the team.
It's the exact same thing when the team isn't going well. I'm around long enough to know that when things aren't going that well you'll probably get a bit more heat. I'm completely okay with that, I completely get that. It doesn't really frustrate me, that's just the way it is - that's just the way rugby is. It's built on small margins and it's probably fair because on the bad side of things, if I throw a loose pass during a really good phase of play, it kills the attack. That's the big picture.
On the flip side, if you keep it going, and nail that final pass or end up finishing that try, then things look really good. You can't get too upset about, because it's just a bit mad how it sways either side and that's just the way it is.
I don't think an Irish team has ever been in that headspace. The public get so used to us at that level, as soon as we dipped below that then there's a bit of ‘Jesus what's going on? Why aren't doing that?’
It's not a compliment but it's probably a sign of the times that people expect us to be at a certain level or reach certain heights. [When] we don't, there's a bit of panic. I think we've won 23 of the 26 tests and then two of the losses were in the Six Nations.
Following the Six Nations, Murray was glad to get a bit of time off - the space to forget about rugby for a little while before last weekend's Champions Cup quarter-final win against Edinburgh.
"It was actually quite refreshing," said Murray of returning to Munster, "the lads who weren't involved with the Six Nations were actually so busy with this European week and even with us coming back in, they just lifted you up - lifted your spirits. I wasn't feeling sorry for myself anyway but it just kind of distracted you.
"I was pretty happy with the game I played on Saturday. There's always something - no one ever played the absolute perfect game. It was a step in the right direction for me personally, and I just keep working towards that because I know the levels I can hit, I know how good I can be.
"I'm hungry to show that off at this stage of the season, and I feel pretty good, body feels good injury wise. I feel great."
Above: PINERGY, the official energy partner to Munster Rugby, teamed up with its brand ambassador Conor Murray to announce that PINERGY will now be supplying all of its customers with electricity from 100 percent renewable energy sources. Munster Rugby’s home stadiums, Thomond Park and Irish Independent Park, will now be powered with electricity from fully renewable sources, reducing their annual carbon footprint to zero. PINERGY’s move to renewable energy enables Munster’s Red Army to go green in the second season of the innovative #WeAre16 campaign. The development positions PINERGY as Ireland’s first and only specialist smart energy provider to now fully supply all of its electricity to its customers from renewable sources.
Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile