Dan Murray is a man who knows a thing or two about winning the big trophies in Irish club football. A three-time League of Ireland champion, two-time Setanta Sports Cup victor and once off FAI Cup winner back in 2007, the English man is better placed than most to analyze Sunday’s historic Aviva Stadium showdown between Dundalk FC and his former club, Cork City.
Born in Cambridge thirty-six-years-ago, Murray’s first introduction to the League of Ireland came during a loan spell in 2002. Signed by Liam Murphy, centre-half Murray arrived on Leeside a Peterborough United player, although five appearances in his four seasons in London perhaps made Murray feel like anything but a professional footballer.
That would soon change however, signed permanently by the “Rebel Army”, Murray would go on to become a club legend thanks to the defenders incredible knack of scoring big goals on huge European nights, while three major trophies in four seasons at Turners Cross only added to the Englishman’s popularity.
Sadly, like many of his team-mates, Murray would soon see the darker side of domestic football in Ireland when City were crippled by financial difficulties, forcing Murray to leave the club he was most loved by. Despite that blow, the former Cambridge United youth recovered to not only lift back to back league titles under Michael O’Neill at Shamrock Rovers but Murray was arguably one of O’Neill’s most important players in that golden period for the Tallaght club, playing a major role as “Hoops” captain.
In somewhat fairytale circumstances, Murray returned to his second home of Cork City in 2012 and was again appointed captain and despite failing to lift anymore silverware, after 307 appearances and 19 goals from the back, Murray’s opinion is a well-respected one on Leeside.
And given the 2007 FAI Cup winners comments and prediction for this year’s edition of the FAI Cup final on Between the Stripes LOI podcasts “FAI Cup Final Special”, perhaps Dundalk fans should be weary despite their tag of favorites to lift a second double under Stephen Kenny’s leadership.
With many neutrals bemoaning the fact this will be the fourth straight Aviva Stadium decider between Dundalk and Cork, Murray spoke of why this game has become something of the norm in recent years.
“Everyone wanted them to meet in the quarter or semi-finals but they’ve been the best two-teams so if they aren’t going to meet in the final it’s going to take a serious side to beat them. I think Bohs had an unbelievable chance this year but the best teams always find a way to win.”
“I can’t see anything other than this being a cagey affair, maybe a goal in it but I just have a feeling It’s going to go to penalties again to be honest with Mark McNulty to save another penalty in front of the Dundalk fans.”
Given Murray’s close ties to John Caulfield’s side, it is no surprise to hear such a prediction from the Cork City legend, who may have just added another notch of popularity to his belt with these comments among followers of last season’s double winners.
To hear Dan Murray’s chat with Between the Stripes LOI podcast in full use the Audioboom player below. The no nonsense centre-half also spoke about his other former side, Shamrock Rovers and what they need to do to win some silverware next season. Murray’s interview kicks off around 20 minutes into last night’s show.