Kenny Murphy headed to Canada but his heart was always in Avondale

Experienced midfielder was thrilled to return to the MSL after six years abroad
Kenny Murphy headed to Canada but his heart was always in Avondale

Avondale's Kenny Murphy is tackled by Rockmount's John Gaffney. Picture: Brian Lougheed

FOR some, 2020 wasn’t all doom and gloom. 

Kenny Murphy returned from Canada after six fabulous years away from Cork to a new life. He got to marry the love of his life Amy, start a new job, and pick up from where he left off playing with his club Avondale. 

And just when all seemed so perfect, Covid stopped him in his tracks.

For the laid-back 34-year-old from Douglas, he can look back over the past 10 months in a positive manner.

“I am looking forward to getting back on the pitch with the lads and preparing for games at the weekend,” said Murphy. “When we all first heard about Covid, I don’t think any of us really thought it was going to affect our daily lives.

“You hear all this on the news and media platforms but I never imagined it would have such an impact.

“Personally, I have been pretty lucky to an extent. I was living in Calgary, Canada for the past six years and only got home in December 2019.

“I was able to get married to my beautiful wife Amy in late February 2020 and start a new job with Cyber Security company, Forcepoint, in early March before the real impact of Covid hit.

“I was lucky. I had barely been in the job a week and from then on, I have been working from home like many other people.

“That is one of the bigger changes for me. I would much rather be in the office where you could go for a coffee with someone or chat about the football or just have a bit of craic in general.

“On a positive side, since returning from Canada, I have been able to spend a lot more time with family and learned to value the more important things in life.”

Gareth Harkin, Finn Harps, and Kenny Murphy, Avondale United chase possession in midfield. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Gareth Harkin, Finn Harps, and Kenny Murphy, Avondale United chase possession in midfield. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Playing ball while living in Canada kept Murphy fit and motivated, and on his return, his determination to win silverware with Avondale was very much a focus for him.

“I left Avondale in 2014 to travel and see the world a bit. I fell in with a team called the Callies who played at Major level.

“It would have been a very similar standard to MSL here. I was happy with how I was playing and contributing to the team."

In his time there he won two league medals, the Alberta’s Provincial Cup and finished third in a Nationals, which is equivalent to the FAI Intermediate Cup here.

“Since I’ve returned I have been back with Avondale obviously a few years older, but it’s been great.

“A lot of the lads are still there and some very good young guys also. We had a great start to the league, and we are unbeaten, but we know in-house that we are capable of playing a lot better than some of our performances suggest.

“We know there is a long way to go in the league and not to get complacent. I believe the longer we are working with Frank Kelleher and understanding his methods, we will become a serious outfit to challenge for lots of medals.

“There are some big challengers in the league this year and it is fairly tight at the top, but we have enough experienced players in the dressing room now to know that we only need to worry about ourselves.

“Keep the head down and look after our own results and the rest will look after itself.

“We have some top class young energetic players in the club and when you couple that with the experience of some of the other lads who have been through it all before. I fancy our chances of success."

IN FORM

Feeling fit and focused, he had been happy with the season before it was disrupted.

“There is some serious competition in the midfield area of the team right now and it is pushing each player to be better, which is what we want. This is my first time working with Frank and I have to say, he has been very impressive.

“Very professional. Everything is set up before training and we know exactly what we are going to be doing and how long for.

“Frank is also a little different in the fact he tries to challenge our minds as well as our bodies.

“He tries to get us to think about the game and how to play it effectively and then how to implement it! It’s very interesting.

He is also very approachable but is also well able to give you a kick up the backside if needed.

“I hope the season does resume. We are training online and preparing as if it will be back, but it’s hard to say for sure what is going to happen.

“I don’t think there has been too much direction from the league, but maybe they don’t know themselves. We, as a team, can only do our best to be ready for when we are asked to play again. I hope that comes sooner rather than later, but we can only do our piece and let the powers that be decide whether it is safe to do so or not.

Avondale's Kenny Murphy slide-tackles Douglas Hall's Gary Drennan. Picture: Brian Lougheed
Avondale's Kenny Murphy slide-tackles Douglas Hall's Gary Drennan. Picture: Brian Lougheed

“Sport is very important to people for a number of reasons but over the last year or so I have begun to notice how important it is for mental health.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what sport you are playing. Having some time set aside a few days a week to go and enjoy a particular sport is great for stress relief and is good for the soul!

“So I feel it is very important that we get back to some sort of normality this year, the sooner the better in my opinion."

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