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Image / Self / Real-life Stories

Women in Sport: Ireland, Barbarians and Leinster centre Jenny Murphy


By Sarah Gill
06th Feb 2023
Women in Sport: Ireland, Barbarians and Leinster centre Jenny Murphy

In this instalment of our Women in Sport series, we hear from Jenny Murphy on how she found her sport, proudest achievements, and the sports star she looks up to most.

Ireland, Barbarians and Leinster centre Jenny Murphy was part of the Irish squad to win the Grand Slam in 2013 as well as making it to the World Cup semi-final in 2014 and winning the Six Nations in 2015.

Jenny also captained the Old Belvedere women’s team. A qualified PE teacher, Jenny works for Google as a Mid Market Account Manager. From a media perspective, Jenny has hosted the SportsJoe show Play X Play, as well as being a rugby analyst and part of the first ever all female comms team for TG4 on their Guinness Pro14 coverage.

Jenny Murphy

Name: Jenny Murphy

Profession: Account Strategist and rugby player

Earliest sporting memory?

Kicking around a ball with my little brother and uncle in the garden at home.

How did you become involved in your sport?

I saw the University rugby team training early one morning and thought, ‘I’ll give that a crack, it’ll be good fitness for GAA and soccer’. After my first training session, I was hooked.

What message would you like to share with young women and girls interested in pursuing a career as an athlete?

At the moment, I don’t think it’s a career choice yet, for women’s rugby anyway. You may make enough to get by, but not enough to properly save. Work hard, try to be the best that you can be, but don’t let it define you. You are so much more than an athlete.

Proudest moment so far…

Being a part of the first Irish national team to beat NZ to get to a WC semi-final was pretty special. I’m also proud of getting back on the field after 2 significant injuries.

The female athlete I admire the most is…

Serena Williams. A powerful, competitive, and intelligent athlete who remained at the top for years. Coming back from injuries and setbacks. Being so consistently successful is not an easy thing to achieve, it’s so impressive. And it’s also her work off the court. Using her position to advocate for gender and racial equality. An inspiration for anyone.

Jenny Murphy

Favourite sporting memory?

I’m so lucky to have so many but one that comes to mind is that minute you get after the final whistle is blown, and you get to go mad and celebrate with your teammates. You are in your own little bubble on the pitch. Hugs and laughter all around. That little bubble when we first beat England in 2013, keeping them scoreless was pretty great.

Do you think there is still a stigma around women in sport?

100%

What is the biggest barrier to driving visibility in women’s sports?

I don’t think there is one definite blocker. More women in positions of power will help. Increased funding to support participation will also have a positive impact. Adequate wages for full-time and part-time athletes will allow them to be able to become the best they can be which in turn leads to more skilful and entertaining games. The marketing of certain female sports can be improved too. And the big one – ambition, don’t set goals that are the bare minimum. Be ambitious.

The biggest stigma/pre-conception that exists in women’s sport is…

That it’s not entertaining.

If I wasn’t an athlete I would be…

A painter.

My favourite pre-competition game meal is…

Pancakes with maple syrup.

My pre-competition game playlist includes…

It depends on the day but at the moment Biig Piig, Glass Animals, ODESZA are on rotation.

My daily routine…

Always involves a black coffee. I take my time making it at home, a relaxing way to start the day.

My biggest sporting goal is…

To continue to enjoy playing.

Sports brands I love (Irish or otherwise)…

I’m a big fan of Fresh Cuts — ethical and sustainable clothing, and a sound bunch too. Shout out to Grown, another great Irish company too.

Biggest splurge to celebrate a win?

Wasn’t really a win, but after one of the World Cups, a group of us headed off to Vegas for a few days.

How do you mind your mental health?

Exercise, cook, and be around good people.

My three desert island beauty products are…

Sun cream, Kiehls oil-free moisturiser, lip balm.

I need 8 hours of sleep a night because… I don’t like being grouchy the next day.

Confidence, to me, is…

A state of mind.

How do you get over a bad performance?

Accept it. You are never going to be perfect or have dips in performance. Bad performances are the ones you learn the most from. Acknowledge it, allow yourself to be frustrated etc, and then move on and work on what you can.

Lastly, why is sport such an integral part of community, on a club, local, national and personal level? It does so much?

It can bring so much joy and ecstasy to so many people, whether they are playing or watching. It’s a great connector. I’ve learnt so much from being involved in sport and I couldn’t imagine my life with it.

For any enquiries about Jenny, visit Navy Blue.