MUNSTER’S Conor Murray has described his meteoric rise from playing in a provincial Senior Cup final less than two and a half years ago to being named in the Lions squad this week this summer as ‘crazy,’
Twenty four-year-old Murray played in the Garryowen side which lost out to Bruff in the ODM Munster Senior Cup decider in January 2011. This week the Limerickman was one of just two Munster players named in Warren Gatland’s Lions squad for this summer’s tour to Australia.
Irish international scrum-half Conor Murray said: “It is crazy when you think about how quickly things have developed. It might have happened a bit quicker than some people would have expected. But when you get into the Academy, your aim is to a professional rugby player. You want that to happen at some stage. I was just lucky to get my chance a bit early. I was lucky I managed to take it, things went well and I managed to stay in there. I got a few more chances thankfully enough.”
Patrickswell native Murray revealed that it took time for the realisation that he is one of nine Irish internationals included in Gatland’s squad to tour Down Under to sink in.
“I watched the squad announcement with my housemate Sean Scanlon on TV on Tuesday, just like everyone else,” Conor Murray explained.
“I got up around 8am and was cleaning the house to pass the time with the announcement not being made until 11am.
“I dragged Sean (Scanlon) out of bed around five minutes to eleven to watch it. It was pretty nerve-wracking. I had no inkling at all that I was going to be included in the squad beforehand. I didn’t know a thing. Everyone found out the exact same way.
“It is a good way to find out when you are going on the tour, but it would be an awful way to find out that you are being left out.
“My dad wanted me to go out to his house, have breakfast and watch it with him, but in the case my name wasn’t called out, I didn’t want to be there, so I chose to stay at home and watch it.
“Paul O’Connell watched it in the team room with the squad at CIT. I think he said he would have preferred to watch it on his own. I was happy to process the news on my own. I didn’t really celebrate immediately. There was a bit of shock at first and then the realisation hit me that I had made the squad.
“It was just a matter of enjoying the day after that. The phone was hopping straight away and it hasn’t stopped since. The messages keep coming in.
“There are sings up at home in Patrickswell already. Everyone has been given their support which is great. It is great for club, my school and probably my family more than anyone who invested so much time and effort bringing me to training when I was younger and stuff like that.”
(See next week’s edition of the Limerick Leader for full interview with Conor Murray)