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    AnnaLise Murphy in the Irish Times

    January 15, 2010

    SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR/DECEMBER: Mary Hannigan talks to December’s award winner, outstanding young Dublin sailor Annalise Murphy.

    annalise murphy

    ANNALISE MURPHY knew it was going to be a challenging year, her first on the senior circuit. And despite a hugely encouraging 2008, the highlight being her fifth-place finish at the Laser Radial Youth World Championships, she expected the step up to be significant.

    It was, too. But there was a moment at the senior World Championships in Japan in August when she realised she was doing just fine.

    ‘I remember seeing the gold medallist from Beijing behind me, I was half thinking I should let her pass,’ she laughs. ‘But I didn’t, and ended up beating her in that race. I couldn’t believe it, really.

    ‘It was all a bit intimidating at first, suddenly I was up against people who had been competing at that level for 10 years and more, world-class competitors, so it was a big jump. But I’d put a huge amount of work in to it, I just hoped it would pay off.’

    The hard work had already reaped rewards earlier in the year when, in the Netherlands, Murphy became the first Irish sailor to win a Europa Cup Laser event in 13 years. She brought that form to Japan, winning the under-21 world title by finishing eighth in the senior event, made up of 87 boats from 30 nations. She had five top-four finishes in the 10 counting races, including two runners-up spots.

    It was, said Irish Sailing Association performance director James O’Callaghan, ‘a fantastic achievement’ by the Academy member. ‘We always knew Annalise had the potential, but she has even been surprised by the speed in which she has delivered on it. Remember, this is only her first year as a senior.’

    Murphy maintained that form in Australia last month where she competed in the Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne regattas; wins in Brisbane and Sydney, followed by fourth place in Melbourne, completed an outstanding year for the 19-year-old Dubliner.

    Those results should see her rise significantly from 40th place when the new world rankings are published next month.

    ‘Australia was a nice end to the year alright,’ she says, ‘I definitely surprised myself, I just wasn’t expecting to do quite so well at this stage. It’s all given me so much confidence it just means I’ve started setting my goals a little higher. There’s a long way to go, I know, but I’m becoming more and more focused on London 2012.’

    Murphy, 20 next month, came by it honestly. Her mother, Cathy (nee McAleavey), represented Ireland in sailing at the 1988 Olympic Games and, with her husband, Con, still holds the Round Ireland speed record, set in 1993 as crew on Steve Fossett’s trimaran Lakota.

    ‘I’ll leave that record to my parents,’ says Murphy, ruling out a challenge.

    Not that she’d find the time. She leaves for Florida this week for her second World Cup series event, after Melbourne. Then there’s the North American Championships, a training camp in Palma, events in France and the Netherlands – her 2010 schedule is jammed.

    She has deferred her science degree in UCD, throwing herself full-time into her sport. ‘I just want to give it everything this year and see where it takes me. I love sailing, but there’s no feeling like winning a race – hopefully I can win a few more this year.’

    Irish Times, 13 January 2010

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