DESPITE facing the world’s most fearsome rugby players and the pressure cooker of performing on one of the world’s largest sporting stages, Conor Murray was almost more nervous about being welcomed home by his Patrickswell compatriots than any situation he faced in New Zealand.
The talented scrum-half - who started all but two of Ireland’s games at the Rugby World Cup - was greeted with delight by over 200 people at the Dark Horse Bar in Patrickswell last Thursday, at a reception organised by the local community council.
“He was totally overawed by it, he was more nervous about it than he was any of the matches,” laughed Conor’s Dad Gerry this week. “We were all there and it was a great night, there was a big crowd and it was brilliant. It was the community welcoming him home basically, which was great. He got a few words out anyway and thanked them all - that is something he is just getting used to now,” added Dad Gerry.
Gerry said it was important for his son to acknowledge the support he had received at home.
“There was huge support for him and he is very aware of it. He wasn’t aware of it in New Zealand, all of the hype that was going on here was huge,” he explained. “He is taking it in his stride. People think he is putting on this cool demeanour, but that is just the guy he is. He is a laid back guy and that suits the job he is doing perfectly, you can’t get too excited when you are behind a scrum. He keeps his cool.”
Fergus Kilcoyne, proprietor of the Dark Horse and community council member, paid tribute to Conor.
“Everyone is very proud of him, there was great support for him when he was playing the matches and loads of excitement and Patrickswell got a mention on the world stage which was fantastic,” said Mr Kilcoyne.
“He was flabbergasted by the crowd that turned out - he was delighted. You couldn’t meet a nicer guy, he went around and got photos taken with everyone and it was very nice, people were delighted.”