Ray Murphy National Matchplay Champion

Profile by John Manning

Ray  Murphy National Matchplay Champion image

Ray Murphy

“I didn’t think I’d been making this journey again to collect this anymore,” says Ray Murphy self-deprecatingly in the immediate wake of his incredible seventh National Matchplay title win at Larkspur Park.

More tellingly, he goes on to say, “I always believed I could win another one, As the years went on, they were getting scarce,so I’m delighted,” as he celebrates his eleventh All Ireland individual title.

Winner of two Inter-County championships and a National Club Tournament final at the superb Cashel course in addition to Scratch Cups, Ray is understandably glowing in his assessment. “Every time we go to LarkspurPark they always put on a savage course. It’s always impeccable, even inDecember or January.”

Ray singles out his opponent in Cork qualifying John Walsh as a dangerous hurdle en route to his latest success. The pair had previously clashed in two All-Ireland finals.

“It’s tough playing tha tfirst game on Saturday, three games on Sunday and two on Monday at such a high level,” muses Ray of the biggest marathon of the Pitch and Putt year.

Ray Murphy deals with it better than anybody as Francis Feeley, Jason Cregan, Eoin Shannon, Rob O’Donoghue, Dean Grannell and D.J. Lynch will vouch – the latest in a long line of such attesters.

Magnanimous in victory, Ray has some encouraging words for the vanquished finalist. “Unlucky to DJ in the final. A few putts could have gone your way.”

Cheered on by his wife Linda, son Cian and mother-in-law Patsy, all excellent players in their own right, Ray “thanks all the supporters.” Linda, Cian and Patsy were joined by many of Ray’s St. Anne’s club colleagues and a host of other Cork fans, a significant proportion of whom have supported Murphy right through his storied career. Cries of “The King is back” and “GOAT” rang out around Larkspur Park as Ray received the Day Cup yet again.

“It’s great to see a crowd out there,” says the man who was, as always, resplendent in his trademark red and black colours for the final day.

The multiple champion was impressed by the full spectacle and standard on view in Cashel and praises the NEC.“To all the winners, congratulations.”The NEC are encouraged in what Ray considers their “thankless task. We criticize them; we compliment them. But (they deserve) a round of applause this time for a fabulous championship.”

With his 2024 Matchplay victory, Murphy becomes the second player in history to claim National Strokeplay and Matchplay honours over the same course. Meath man Sean Downes previously achieved this at Royal Meath.

The first thing Ray did on arrival at Larkspur Park on Matchplay Monday was to pay tribute to the man who was President when Ray won his Strokeplay title at the Cashel venue in 2006 – the late Billy Lynch RIP.

Ray will now look to the National Strokeplay and maybe the World Cup. How the former Templebreedy man and 2008 and 2012 World Cup winner would love to contribute to another World Cup campaign. The trials process begins soon for all, including the man who made his international debut all of 30 years ago, against the touring Australians at Fermoy.