The Leicester Tigers full-back brought this season’s Championship to a close when he cleared the ball into the crowd at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, as Ireland claimed a first Grand Slam for 61 years.
A see-saw encounter against the only team that could deny them the Championship provided an amazing occasion. Wales led 6-0 at half-time, only for the Irish to claim two quick tries in the opening stages of the second half.
Murphy had joined the action for the last 20 minutes and saw Wales fly-half Stephen Jones land a drop goal with just five minutes remaining to snatch the lead again. But the Irish bounced back with a similarly clinical drop goal from Ronan O’Gara and they led 17-15 as the clocked ticked down.
The drama was not over, though, as Jones was presented with a long-range opportunity to snatch victory, only for his penalty kick to land short. The Irish fielded the kick, Murphy claimed the ball and launched it off the field to signal the celebrations.
“It has been a tough Six Nations but I certainly enjoyed the last 20 minutes of the tournament!” said Murphy.
“A Grand Slam is huge, it could not get any better. It is a great thing for the history of Ireland. We are up there with the guys of 1948, that feels very special.”
The only English-based player in the Ireland 22 on Saturday, Murphy completed a full set of domestic honours to go with his Guinness Premiership, Heineken Cup and EDF Energy Cup medals with Tigers.
He said: “There has been pressure on us and we have gone close on a number of occasions, but to finally get there is a great feeling, though I’m not sure it has completely sunk in yet.
“The boys were in a bit of shock when the final whistle blew and you start to think about the achievement. But it is great to win the Championship and claim the Grand Slam.
“The fact it has taken so long to get there, more than 60 years since Ireland have done it, makes it even better.”