Round Tower’s lad Murray lighting it up with Leitrim
HOW DOES a lad born and reared in Clondalkin end up striking 1-15 to help Leitrim to a 2-24 to 0-24 win over Mayo in the Connacht Hurling League Shield showpiece?
Well, for Round Tower’s Joe Murray, lining out in the green and gold of Leitrim has come quite naturally with his family links rooted deep in the county.
“My dad, Keith Murray, is from Leitrim and my grandad, Josie Murray, the famous Leitrim footballer, is a stalwart himself in Leitrim,” Murray told The Echo.
“The manager of Leitrim, Olcan Conway, is actually the husband of my dad’s cousin and he knew I was in the development squads, minor squads, under-20s, up here in Dublin.
“He’s been asking me the last two years, just throwing it out there seeing did I bite.
“I’m too old to play under-20 with Dublin and he rang me saying that there’s a spot there if I’m free and if I wanted to give it a go. I thought I’d just give it a go, so I just went for it.
“It’s funny, the manager was asking me if I knew anybody else from Round Towers that would go down.”
The 20-year-old has become quite an accomplished hurler already.
At the moment, he is flat out splitting his time between TU Dublin’s Fitzgibbon Cup campaign and Leitrim’s preparations for the National Hurling League.
Growing up, Murray was put forward by Round Tower to participate with the Dublin Development squads when he 13 and he spent much of his teenage years involved with both the football and hurling set-ups.
At 16, the former Colaiste Chillian student made the full commitment to the small ball and it paid off with him winning a Leinster Minor Hurling Championship medal in 2018.
Adaptable, Joe got his first taste of senior hurling with Towers as their goalkeeper in 2019 while playing at centre-back for the minors, before he was brought out into the forward line last year.
That transition outfield was seamless for Murray as he has the natural pace to burn past opposition players.
The move outfield at senior then paved the way for the marketing student to link up with Leitrim in December and it could not have started any better.
On his debut against Roscommon, despite the result not going Leitrim’s way, Murray bagged himself two goals before blasting Mayo out of the water with a personal tally of 1-15 to lift the shield last Friday night.
“I tried to do my utmost when I’m out on the pitch and playing in the dome out in Ballyhaunis, it’s just a brilliant set-up,” Murray explains.
“I know I scored two goals against Roscommon a few days previous and yeah, we weren’t in the cup final, but we were in the shield.
“I just thought if I’m coming up to Leitrim, I might as well try make a statement for myself and try bring something back to Clondalkin with me whatever type of silverware it is.
“That’s the thing, when I’m out there on the pitch, I don’t care who it is, once I put that jersey on, it’s go, go, go.”
Attention now turns to TU Dublin, which is managed by St Kevin’s Kilian’s Coaching Development Officer, Ryan O’Dwyer, as they face TUS Midwest and University of Limerick in the Fitzgibbon Cup.
After that, Joe is hoping his initial performances with the Wild Rose County will be enough to get some game time in the National Hurling League Division 3B and in the Lory Meagher Cup.