David Hennessy talks to Daryl Murphy, the striker who has enjoyed a renaissance at Ipswich Town that has allowed him to play his way back into a Republic of Ireland shirt. After play-off disappointment last season, he and the club are fixing their target firmly on promotion
It is fair to say Daryl Murphy’s move to Ipswich Town has not disappointed. Two years ago, The Irish World chatted to the Waterford striker about his eagerness to get playing football again after finding chances limited at Celtic. Then 30 years old, Murphy also revealed he was keen to get back into the international fold and add to his eight Republic of Ireland caps.
Two years further down the line and Murphy can certainly tick these objectives off, having 14 international caps to his name now and scoring 40 goals in 89 appearances for the Tractor Boys.
Daryl tells The Irish World: “Of course I am (happy), I just wanted to play football. It was as simple as that. It wasn’t happening for me at Celtic. I’ve made a few loan moves to Ipswich and in the end, the gaffer signed me on a permanent deal.
“As soon as that was done, it gave me and my family and a bit of stability and it all helps in football, people don’t see that from the outside. I think being happy and your family being happy where you are and knowing you’re going to be there makes a big difference and it certainly has for me over the past few seasons.
“When I wasn’t included in the (Republic of Ireland) squad, it was obviously disappointing but I always thought if I played regularly and scored goals, I might get a chance. Under the new management, they have given me that chance so it’s really pleasing.”
Daryl has featured heavily for Ireland, chosen ahead of Shane Long and a bereaved Robbie Keane to start in a crucial Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland. This would end in disappointment with Martin O’Neill’s side failing to secure three points: “I think we were all disappointed with the result. We knew we needed to win, we were at home, they had beaten us away from home so we were well up for the game. I thought we had some good chances to win the game so in that respect, it’s disappointing but that’s football. We’ve got massive games coming up now so it’s not over. I think there’s still plenty of twists and turns in our group but we’ve made it a lot harder for ourselves.”
Daryl is not the only Ipswich forward wearing the green these days as his club team mate David McGoldrick pledged his allegiance to the Irish set-up: “There was a lot of red tape around trying to get it done. It took longer than expected but he was more than willing to play for Ireland, he was excited about it.”
Murphy and McGoldrick have combined for country already in matches against USA, England and behind closed doors against Northern Ireland: “I think it’s easy when you’re playing with someone at club level, you play with them week in week out, you train with them every day, you just know their game inside out really. I just think over the past few years we’ve had a really good understanding and hopefully we could take that onto international level.”
It should come as no surprise that Daryl has recently signed a new contract, putting his future firmly with Mick McCarthy’s team: “Why would I want to go anywhere else? I’ve had probably the best season of my career last year, I had a decent season before that so there’s no reason to go anywhere else. I’m happy here, I’m settled. The manager has faith in me. That’s all you want really as a player, knowing that the manager can trust you and I think he definitely gets the best out of me and I can say that for a lot of the other players as well. I’m delighted I signed.”
Ipswich Town came close to the Premiership last year, reaching the play-offs where they were eliminated by Norwich in a semi-final: “To be honest, we haven’t really spoken about last year, we all know what happened and there’s nothing we can do about it.
“The only thing that disappointed us really was we had a man sent off. It was our first sending off of the whole season and in such a game as that, it was disappointing because who knows what would have happened if we had had eleven men on the pitch. I mean, it’s hard enough going to Norwich and trying to get a result with eleven men, going down to ten it was always going to be a tough task.
“I think our main focus now is on getting promoted whether that’s automatic or through the play-offs. That’s the aim this year but it’s not going to be easy because there’s a lot of teams in the division that are going to be thinking the same as us. The disappointment of last year might spur us on a bit more to achieve what we wanted to do last year and hopefully we will.
“At my age, it would be nice to get another crack at the Premiership. I’ve played there but I think with this team, it would be a lot sweeter if we got there.”
Murphy played in the Premier League for Sunderland after his current manager Mick McCarthy bought him for first time from Waterford United. Murphy was at Sunderland from 2005 to 2010, appearing 110 times, scoring 14 goals, when he joined Celtic. He would play 19 times for Celtic, scoring three goals but have two loan spells at Ipswich before making the permanent move.
Having played for McCarthy at two clubs now, Murphy says: “People want to play for him, you want to give something back to him for showing faith in you and especially in my case. He brought me over from Ireland to Sunderland and now he’s come here. I just want to give a little bit back for what he’s done for my career really and hopefully I’ve been doing that for the last couple of seasons so long may it continue.”