Joe Murphy’s decision to step aside as Eire Og senior football manager has brought with it a period of reflection for the most successful club in Carlow this decade.
Four consecutive senior county titles in six seasons (2017-2020) in charge of the club saw Eire Og become the dominant and widely feared side that they currently are despite their recent county final defeat to Rathvilly.
Murphy spoke to KCLR’s Scoreline on Sunday as the dust settles on another year of ups and downs that culminated in his departure from the club.
“Six years with a club is double or even triple the average length of most management teams, so I just think it was the right time to freshen it up and both go in our different directions,” Murphy said.
“I’m an Eire Og man and I want to see the club do well first and foremost.”
Murphy admitted that the county final defeat to rivals Rathvilly played a huge role in his ultimate decision to call time on his senior managerial career with his local club.
“The decision was made on the back of the final defeat to Rathvilly,” he revealed.
“I was completely focused on that game in the build up to it. I felt pretty burned out after that loss and when another challenge in Leinster didn’t come about because of Rathvilly’s win, I felt that the time had come to leave.”
The four-in-a-row winning manager expanded on what he feels are the biggest achievements of his time in the senior job.
“Our success had a great knock down effect. I wanted to connect the senior side to the underage set-up when I started six years ago and I think I achieved that.
“I think Eire Og is in a better place than it was in 2016 when we took over and the four-in-a-row was very special, there’s no doubt about that.”
Murphy led Eire Og to the 2019 Leinster final in a run that included a memorable semi-final victory against Portlaoise.
They were eventually defeated in the provincial decider against Dublin side Ballyboden St Enda’s on a scoreline of 0-08 to 0-06.
Murphy admits that despite being filled with pride during that run, the memories are plighted by a tinge of disappointment because of the end result.
“We were immensely proud of making the Leinster final in 2019 but the overwhelming emotion was disappointment because we thought that we could win that game.
“I think the break due to Covid the next year didn’t help us build on that run and it is a regret that we couldn’t really go on and have another crack at the Leinster championship.”
He also spoke about his plans for the immediate future and refused to rule out a return to the club.
“If there’s anything that the club need help with, I will always consider that and give it top priority.
“Other than that, I’m just going to relax for a while and enjoy a break from the game for a little while because it was a relentless six years even though it was thoroughly enjoyable.”