Engaged, bristling with enthusiasm about hurling and American Football (!) and with a beaming smile, it’s fair to say, at least in media terms, he’s not your typical top level inter-county hurler.
A little like our own Noel Connors, one senses a media career would be the Danesfort man’s for the taking should he opt for such a path in due course.
But right now, the 26-year-old has eyes only on Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final with neighbouring Waterford.
“You can’t not be impressed with Waterford this year,” said Murphy of next weekend’s opponents.
“They’re League champions and they were unlucky in the Munster Final. When Dublin put it to them, they had leaders to stand up: the likes of Kevin Moran and Maurice Shanahan they all stood up. They have been so consistent over the last while. It was tough day in Thurles for any team with the rain that came down but they still looked impressive. They did what they needed to do and they done it very well.”
As for the absence of Jackie Tyrell, Murphy stated: “I wouldn’t call it a blow; it’s just a big change really. Jackie is the most experienced defender there and you know what you are going to get from him on any given day.
“We actually have three or four lads fighting for his jersey, this is a chance which wasn’t foreseen in the last few weeks but now they have the chance to start. We wouldn’t refer to it as a blow it’s one of those things that happens. It’s unlucky for Jackie that it happened 10 days before an All-Ireland semi-final – but we will just get on with it.”
Kilkenny have dealt impressively with several high-profile retirements and several injuries in recent months, augmenting their status in so doing, in this reporter’s view. As far as Paul Murphy is concerned, the biggest change in the panel’s dynamic has been on the leadership front.
“When you go into a dressing room with Tommy (Walsh), JJ (Delaney), Brian Hogan and Henry (Shefflin), there’s automatically leadership when you walk in the door.
“The leadership has changed and other lads have had to step up inside the dressing room, maybe say the few words before a match and be the example when go out on the pitch and in training.
“That dynamic has changed. Look, we only one lost one person that started the Final last year so from that point of view we are unfazed from that. The likes of TJ (Reid), Richie (Hogan) and myself, we have to step up and show our experience.”
In all likelihood, Paul Murphy may find himself playing as a spare defender on Sunday next should Waterford persist with the system that has served them so well to date, not that he’s concerned himself too much with such a prospect.
“The lads (in management) do all that hard work for us,” he admitted.
“They tell us how teams are playing. We look at the matches and we see who is going well. Personally, I don’t break down the analysis in terms of who’s playing where or what system they’re playing.
“The likes of Brian (Cody) and Mick (Dempsey), we have a great team who tell us the way the opposition are playing. I don’t burden myself with breaking down what’s happening.
“If I’m free on that day and that’s the system that we decide to play because that’s the way Waterford are playing that’s fair enough. The lads will just tell us what way they want us to line up. If they want us to stay free and that’s the system Waterford are playing, that’s what we’ll do. If they want to do something else, we’ll go with that. I actually haven’t been burdening myself thinking what way Waterford are going to play and if I am free what am I going to do.
“If you’re free you just have to work twice as hard. You have that dynamic of not having to mark a man. You should be getting on a lot more ball then and you are not going to be caught for a lad skinning you either. I haven’t really been thinking about that, we leave that to the lads.”
Of his previous experience in such a role, Murphy added: “It just entails reading the game and getting into the area where the ball is going to drop. If you see a ball coming out of the other team’s defence, you have to be over there for the breaking ball and make sure that the forwards coming through don’t get a clear run in on the goal.
“You have to cover as much of the area as you can. A lot of it is drifting and supporting the player that has the ball. If Pádraig Walsh has the ball, I have to make it my business to get over there so instead of him having to clear it, he can just hand it off to me and I can clear it. That’s the role of a spare man.”
Would he prefer a man marking job, then? “If you’re marking a man, you know what your job is. You stop him from scoring and you try and limit his influence on the game. If you are a spare man that’s gone and you can pick up as much ball as you want. I don’t really mind either one. When you’re the free man, you have to impose yourself on the game.”
The dynamics of Kilkenny’s team selection, similar in many ways to the Irish rugby team, has seen few players break into the starting XV aged 19 or 20, something which cannot be similarly said in Waterford at present. Patience, said Paul Murphy, is very much a Kilkenny hurling virtue.
“You can’t expect to come in and feel you have a right to start in a team just because you have going well at minor or whatever,” he said.
“You learn a lot from a player by serving his time and maybe getting his few knocks. Then you see the determination of a fella to come through and earn the jersey. It’s probably that bit sweeter as well.
“If you’re spending your time looking at lads winning an All-Ireland or winning a League final and you want to be out there. The hard graft in getting there is just as sweet as winning. It gives you that bit of experience so when you do get the jersey, it makes it hard to relinquish it.
“If a fella does start straight away like Walter Walsh in the All Ireland final a few years ago, fair play. It’s a very hard thing to do. I would never hold a fella back from doing it but our system over the last few years has seen lads gaining experience and earning their chance to get the jersey.”
The right to earn the jersey is ferociously fought for in Kilkenny, and right now, Paul Murphy reigns supreme in that right corner. Expect another big outing from the Danesfort stopper on Sunday in what one hopes will prove a cracking contest.