Conor Murray: ‘Winning the European Cup with Munster means the world to me’ | Donald McRae

Ireland and Lions scrum-half faces Saracens on Saturday and, with the World Cup looming, is ready for a ‘career-defining’ six months

‘I’m in the real world now,” Conor Murray says with amusement soon after he opens the front door to his house in Castletroy, on the edge of Limerick. His smile matches the two black eyes which make him look like a hardcore fighter during a brutal training camp. Of course this is the face of a professional rugby player who has won 72 caps for Ireland, played five Lions Tests and, after a magnificent nine-year career with Munster, is ready for a gripping European Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens on Saturday.

Murray turns 30 that day and he is entitled to joke about his age after he took a bang to the face against Cardiff this month. “Everybody makes a big deal of it,” he says of a milestone birthday. “It gives you a chance to reflect, see yourself as a 21-year-old, see where you thought you’d be, then look forward to where you want to go. I’ve been very lucky so turning 30 doesn’t scare me. I feel fit and I’m enjoying my rugby. Let’s not forget some lads play into their forties.”

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