Barry Murray Q&A
In the build up to our last home league game against Queens University Belfast on Saturday, Barry Murray, a former long standing first team player from the last decade, has kindly answered some questions for us on his long innings as a Skerries goat.
Where are you living now?
I’m living in Melbourne. I’ve been here for over 4 years now but I’ve been home pretty much every Christmas since I left.
How long did you play for Skerries and what level (s)?
I was a bit a late developer, my first stint in rugby began at U13 schools level back in the days when Aidan Sherlock ruled the roost. e.g. terrified most of us. I had to literally beg and cry for a week to get Mrs. Murray to sign the consent form!
I played under the guidance of numerous coaches at junior levels in the club including Paul Denny, Richie Brown and then under the watchful eye of Maxi McCarthy at U17s /18s grade. Maxi would trawl through the pubs on a Friday and Saturday night just to make sure none of the lads were out drinking before a game…..that’s what he told us anyway! He wasn’t normally one to persuade us not to have a drink.
I eventually made my debut for the Skerries first team under Nick Heeney and it was against Boyne who were actually being coached by Shay McGuinness at the time. To be honest I’ve absolutely no idea what happened on the pitch that day!
I played around five or six long, hard, cold and wet seasons for the firsts in Leinster League Division 1. It was a pretty tough league with notable teams like Navan, Naas and Seapoint contesting every year for promotion but the support we got each week home and away from the Skerries faithful was nothing short of phenomenal.
I played Leinster Division 1 right up until I left for Australia. The very next season, Skerries got promoted back to AIL. Just my luck…
Highlight of your playing career?
On the pitch – Winning the Schools Senior Cup in Donnybrook many moons ago playing with a great group of lads. It was a great way to finish out schools rugby and bring the curtain down on secondary school.
Off the pitch – Getting to hear Dara McMahon relive tales of the multiple winning Towns Cup side from the 70s before and after every Towns Cup game ever played!
The after match sessions which inevitably went from the club to Joe Mays and ended in leaving Shenanigans at 2am on a Monday morning were always a highlight… just not the next day in work!
Your favourite match?
The semi-final of the Leinster Senior Cup against St Columbus College is one match which stands out beyond any I’ve ever played for simply the raw emotion experienced at the final whistle. Columbus were certain favourites to win the cup that year and never for a minute did anyone think ‘Skurvies Community College’ were going to stand in their way, as Ross O’Carroll Kelly dubbed us after our cup run culminated in defeat to Blackrock College in January 2000. We played out of our skins that day against Columbus and deserved the win even with Paddy O’Sullivan’s dubious late try!
Best player you played with?
So many great players over the years to choose from but for me it was Derek Keane. He’s an absolute monster on the wing, sheer physicality and great to see in full flight handing off lads in the face! It is brilliant to see him back playing rugby for the firsts this season.
Best player you played against?
It was a training match against St.Marys at U18 schools level. They had Shane Jennings in their ranks at that stage. We were doing some lineout drills, I was contesting against him and got absolutely destroyed, nowhere near the ball all day even our own lineouts! Jennings totally ran the show start to finish, directing their guys all over the park, running riot with ball in hand and demolishing anything in a Skerries jersey.
Your favourite current player for Skerries?
I would have to say Ross McAuley from reading all the match reports. I was fortunate enough to get to a Skerries game in Seapoint in December last year, my first in about 5 years. It was great to see some of the lads I played with still going strong with Ross very much leading the charge.
How do you stay in touch with how Skerries are getting on? Friends, family, FB or Twitter
I usually get a call from the folks on Sunday evening and get the low down from Dad on how Skerries played. Depending on how many Guinness he’s sunk in the club post game I’ll read the match reports on FB to fill in the gaps.
Watching one of my best mates growing up in Skerries, Andrew McGuinness being sent off for fighting by his Dad on the back pitch versus De La Salle Palmerston was hilarious when we were U14s. I think Shay made him walk home to Loughshinny post game for Sunday lunch.
I think Shay felt a bit guilty over the whole incident and made up for it by awarding Andrew a try while refereeing a subsequent game against Moyle Park at U18s grade. Andrew grounded the ball five metres short of the try line and much to the amusement of everyone Shay awarded the try so McGuinness father-son relations must be better these days.