NEWLY-CROWNED Antrim league champions Portglenone needed “something tangible” to show for all the hard work that’s been put in over the past number of years as they claimed their first senior success at the weekend.
The Casements needed a point against Creggan Kickhams to secure their first league title the club’s 82-year history – going on to win 0-13 to 0-9, pushing Cargin into second spot.
Murphy, who sits on the county executive, had the Eddie Fitzsimons Cup in the boot of his car in the Portglenone carpark.
Had his club slipped up at home to Creggan, he would have driven the silverware to Cargin who duly defeated Ahoghill with a bit to spare.
John McKeever's side produced a very measured display from start to finish and the silverware ended up staying in Portglenone.
“It’s massive for the club," said Murphy.
“It’s the first time in our 82-year history. We’ve been building our underage teams over the last few years and we’ve now got a good age profile for a senior team.
“There were kids running about Kelly Park and getting their hands on the trophy and the social club was filled to the neck. There was a lot of hard work that went into it.
“I know people say the league is for playing in, the championship is for winning. But it’s still a very important historic step for the club. We’ve been competing over the last few years but haven’t got over the line, but now we’ve something tangible to show for it."
Portglenone weren't too badly hit by county absentees during their successful league campaign with Dermot McAleese and Oisin Doherty the only two players in Andy McEntee's Antrim panel this year.
Murphy added: “We won an intermediate championship but we’ve never won anything at senior level, so to win the league title is massive for our club. I know it was a target of John’s and the team's from the start of the year – to win the league. And they’ve achieved that now."
Portglenone suffered an agonising championship semi-final defeat to Aghagallon last season and have found the semi-final stages something of a graveyard.
The hope is the Casements will be buoyed by their league success as they prepare for another crack at the senior championship this year.
Meanwhile, St Enda's, Glengormley are likely to face relegation from Division One with a couple of games still to play. The Hightown Road men have sorely missed their county players having recorded early-season league wins over Portglenone and Cargin with them on board at the time.