Barry Murphy could be termed the comeback kid of Irish rugby. The fleet-footed Munster centre battled back to fitness after a seven-month injury lay-off and he jets out to Argentina this Saturday, hopeful of making his Ireland debut.
March of last year saw Murphy sustain a serious leg injury in a Magners League match against Ulster. The injury robbed him of a place in the Ireland ‘A’ Churchill Cup squad and considerable momentum in what was his first full season with Munster.
There were plenty of high points last season for the 24-year-old who, whilst growing up in Limerick, could see the Thomond Park pitch from his bedroom window. Who could forget his brilliant solo try against Sale in the Heineken Cup’s pool stages?
And while his world crumbled at Ravenhill when he damaged his ankle, Murphy has bounced back with renewed vigour, making his comeback with Munster in October and forming an excellent centre partnership with the live-wire Lifeimi Mafi. He also donned the number 13 jersey twice for Ireland ‘A’ this season against Australia ‘A’ and England Saxons, linking well with his future provincial team-mate Kieran Lewis.
Murphy could write another chapter in his rugby career over the next three weeks as a member of the Irish senior squad to tour Argentina. If chosen to play in one or both of the Test matches against the Pumas, the Limerick youngster will do so with a plate in his leg.
Working away at the Irish squad’s camp in Limerick this week, Murphy told IrishRugby.ie: “I fractured the fibia and dislocated my ankle (last year). It was career threatening but everything is fine now. I still have a plate in there and it can stay there.
“I had to make that decision in the last few weeks but if I had it removed it would mean missing five or six weeks of pre-season stuff. It doesn’t bother me so I will play away.”
Murphy trained with the Irish squad during the 2007 Six Nations championship, but admitted that with the time factor involved the main concentration was with those in the starting side.
Now with the focus on himself and a number of Ireland’s young talents, Murphy is determined to catch the eye in Argentina.
“The tour is a great opportunity for young guys like myself to push our claims for a World Cup place. This is a chance to show what we can do,” he admitted.