Naas RFC have confirmed former professional player Johne Murphy as their player-coach for the 2015/16 season. The recently retired Murphy played his first game for Naas last Friday, lining out at outside centre as the Kildare outfit opened Ulster Bank League Division 2A with a 16-0 win away to Skerries.
Naas play in Division 2A of the Ulster Bank Rugby, and Johne Murphy will bring a renewed focus as the club look to build on the success of last season. Murphy, who played for Munster most recently, retired from professional rugby last month to focus on business and pursue a career in coaching.
He is the latest provincial or international player to join the coaching ranks of the Ulster Bank League, with the likes of Marcus Horan (Shannon), Brett Wilkinson (Buccaneers), Malcolm O’Kelly (St. Mary’s College forwards), Tony Buckley (Kanturk forwards), Willie Faloon (City of Armagh) and Luke Marshall (Rainey Old Boys backs) among the most recent appointments.
Murphy, who turns 31 in November, has enjoyed a tremendous rugby career to date and is a great addition to the Co. Kildare club. He joined Leicester Tigers in 2005 and while there helped them to three English Premiership titles and was their top try scorer in the 2008/09 season.
He moved to Munster in 2010, making his debut in September. He was part of the team that defeated Australia in November and was a member of the 2010/11 Magners League winning side that season. The versatile back made a total of 91 appearances for Munster.
Murphy also played for Ireland at ‘A’ level and in 2014 he captained Emerging Ireland against Uruguay as they won the Nations Cup competition.
Speaking at a recent event to introduce him to Naas RFC members and sponsors, he said: “I’m really looking forward to coaching Naas RFC for the coming season and bringing the intensity and focus of a professional rugby player to bear on the side. I’ve met the guys and am eager to get into the season, get the first few games under our belt and see where we are.”
Murphy donned the number 13 jersey for Naas’ Division 2A opener away to Skerries last Friday, and they came away from a rain-soaked Holmpatrick with a 16-0 victory.
Naas RFC are hosting a free Family Day at Forenaughts this Saturday to coincide with Murphy’s first home league game against Malone (kick-off 4.30pm). There will be a big screen showing Ireland’s Rugby World Cup clash with Canada beforehand at 2.30pm, along with children’s entertainment, a food village and full bar. There will be lots to see and do for all the family, and all are invited to attend.